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Ivory Coast ex-president, wife charged with economic crimes

Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] and his wife Simone were arrested and charged on Thursday for a variety of economic crimes including looting, embezzlement and armed robbery. Most of Gbagbo's remaining supporters were arrested [JURIST report] earlier this month. Although Gbagbo's supporters have been actively sought for arrest, many believe troops loyal to Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile; political website, in French] are similarly culpable. Although Ouattara has insisted that all those responsible for war crimes will be prosecuted [JURIST report], none of his supporters has been charged or arrested. However, reports have alleged that violence is still being committed by Ouattara supporters [JURIST report]. Last week, a representative for the UN Mission in the Ivory Coast (MINUCI) [official website] confirmed [JURIST report] that forces loyal to Ouattara are continuing to kill civilians and opposition members in his name, with 26 killings reported between July 11 and August 10.

Last month, Ouattara set up a commission of inquiry [JURIST report] to investigate crimes and human rights violations that took place during the violence following the presidential elections in which former president Gbagbo refused to leave office after losing the election. 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. Also that month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [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. According to the report, the FRCI killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 supporters of Gbagbo and burned at least 10 villages in March. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] also 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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