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Ivory Coast sets up commission to investigate post-election violence

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] signed a decree [text, PDF] Wednesday establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate crimes and human rights violations that took place during post-election violence [JURIST news archive] between pro-Ouattara forces and forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile]. The commission will investigate the abuses and provide recommendations [Reuters report] for implementing measures to prevent similar incidents. Ouattara promised to "take legal action against the perpetrators" if necessary and called on the commission to cooperate with international human rights organizations working to uncover details about the abuses. The Ivory Coast had announced last month it would establish its own commission [JURIST report] to investigate alleged crimes committed as a result of disputed presidential elections. Ouattara gave the commission six months to report the results of the investigation.

The commission is not the first effort to investigate violence in the country. Last month, the Ivory Coast granted permission [JURIST report] to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to proceed with an investigation into the violence. An official for the UN's International Commission of Inquiry also called for an investigation [JURIST report] into Ouattara and his forces' continuing attacks against Gbagbo supporters last month. Earlier in June, the Ivory Coast issued international arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Gbagbo aides. 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. Twenty-one 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 to Ouattara, which resulted in months of fighting between Ouattara's and Gbagbo's forces.

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