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UN calls for investigation of Ivory Coast president

An official for the International Commission of Inquiry on Friday called for an investigation [UN News Centre report] into current Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara and his forces' continuing attacks against supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profiles]. Officials told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] of their May visit to the Ivory Coast, during which they found both general and systematic attacks and rapes [VOA report] against citizens by opposing political groups. The UNHRC's official report will be released later next week, when it is considered by the UNHRC, though an advance unedited copy [text, PDF, in French] is available. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report last week detailing similar alleged retaliatory attacks [JURIST report] from Gbagbo and Ouattara's forces. Thursday, the UN Mission in the Ivory Coast (MINUCI) [official website] human rights officer Guillaume Ngefa also called for an investigation of Ouattara [BBC report].

Last month, Ouattara asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to launch an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged crimes committed as a result of the disputed presidential elections last November. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] then submitted a request to the court [JURIST report] to begin an investigation into the Ivory Coast political conflict, but a formal investigation has yet to begin. In April, HRW 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 last month, 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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