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Ivory Coast President says all responsible for post-election violence will be prosecuted

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile; political website, in French] said Wednesday that all those responsible for war crimes during the country's post-election violence [JURIST news archive] will be prosecuted and brought to justice regardless of their side. Ouattara said that even his loyalists [Huffington Post report] responsible for the violence will be brought to justice. However, Ouattara said that due to the state of the Ivory Coast legal system that prosecution should be carried out by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Last month, Ouattara granted permission [JURIST report] to the ICC to investigate the violence following the presidential elections in which former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] refused to leave office after losing the election. Ouattara made the statements before meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] at the UN headquarters in New York. The UN Security Council [official website] Thursday unanimously recommended extending [UN news report] the UN's peacekeeping mandate until July 31, 2012 at its current level of 9,800 troops. Ouattara, earlier this month, set up a commission of inquiry [JURIST report] to investigate crimes and human rights violations that took place during post-election violence. The commission will investigate the abuses and provide recommendations for implementing measures to prevent similar incidents.

The Ivory Coast has already issued international arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Gbagbo aides, 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 including the government spokesman Ahoua Don Mello, industry minister Phillipe Attey, and the ambassador to Israel Raymond Koudou Kessie. Twenty-one others already in detention were charged for violence and inciting tribalism and xenophobia. In June, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] officially requested permission from ICC judges [JURIST report] to begin investigation into the Ivory Coast after determining that war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed during the violence. Since 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. In April, Gbagbo was captured and forced from office [JURIST report] after refusing to leave despite losing last November's election to Ouattara, which resulted in months of fighting between Ouattara's and Gbagbo's forces.

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