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Ivory Coast issues international arrest warrants for Gbagbo aides

The Ivory Coast issued international arrest warrants Friday for aides of former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile]. The prosecutor's office in the capital Abidjan issued the warrants [Reuters report], most notably for Charles Ble Goude, the leader of Gbagbo's youth militia, accusing him of inciting ethnic violence and attacks against UN workers. Other members of Gbagbo's government also had warrants issued for them including the government spokesman Ahoua Don Mello, industry minister Phillipe Attey, and the ambassador to Israel Raymond Koudou Kessie. Further, 21 others already in detention were charged for violence and inciting tribalism and xenophobia. Gbagbo was captured and forced from office [JURIST report] after refusing to leave despite losing last November's election of now President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile], which resulted in months of fighting between Ouattara's and Gbagbo's forces. Goude was instrumental in Gbagbo's fight to remain in power rounding up a youth militia to help fight.

The Ivory Coast has begun the process of investigating the violence after the fight between Gbagbo and Ouattara. Last week, the Ivory Coast granted the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] permission to proceed with its investigation into the violence. As the Ivory Coast is not a member state of the ICC because it is not a signatory of the Rome Statute [text, PDF], the ICC can only investigate with the Ivory Coast's express permission. The Ivory Coast announced earlier this month it would establish its own commission [JURIST report] to investigate alleged crimes committed as a result of the disputed presidential elections. This investigation may take up to two years [Reuters report]. Also, an official for the UN's International Commission of Inquiry called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Ouattara and his forces' continuing attacks against supporters of ousted leader Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] earlier this month. In April, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] urged Ouattara to conduct an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged atrocities carried out by his forces in its attempts to secure the presidency.

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