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ICC asks for victim statements in preparation for Ivory Coast investigation

International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Friday issued a public notice [text] for victims of violence in the Ivory Coast to give statements and advise if the ICC should proceed with a formal investigation. Victims have 30 days to file a statement. The statement says Moreno-Ocampo will make an investigation request "shortly," although in May he said he had submitted a request [JURIST report]. Last month, President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] asked the ICC to launch an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged crimes committed as a result of the disputed presidential elections last November. Violence has been ongoing since last year's disputed election, with factions of Ouattara and ousted former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] still engaging in retaliatory killings [JURIST report].

Earlier this week, the Ivory Coast announced it would establish a commission [JURIST report] to investigate alleged crimes committed as a result of the disputed presidential elections last November. An official for the International Commission of Inquiry called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Ouattara and his forces' continuing attacks against supporters of Gbagbo earlier this month. In April, Human Rights Watch urged Ouattara to conduct an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged atrocities carried out by his forces in its attempts to secure the presidency. According to the report, the pro-Ouattara forces, known as the Republican Forces of the Ivory Coast, killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 supporters of Gbagbo and burned at least 10 villages in March. Also in April, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] reported the deaths of at least 800 civilians [JURIST report] in the Ivory Coast town of Duekoue as a result of intercommunal violence.

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