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ICC prosecutor singles out individuals for Ivory Coast war crimes probe

International Criminal Court [ICC] [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Saturday that the court will launch investigations specifically aimed at three to six individuals for their alleged involvement in post-election violence [JURIST news archive] following last November's elections in the Ivory Coast [BBC backgrounder]. Ocampo arrived in the country [JURIST report] on Saturday after receiving permission from both ICC judges and Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio [JURIST reports]. While the names of the individuals under investigation will not yet be released to the public, Ocampo plans to focus on the "most egregious and the most responsible" [AP report]. The Ivory Coast is not a member of ICC but through its express permission has accepted the court's jurisdiction over the case and has pledged to cooperate in the investigation.

As a part of the investigation, Ocampo plans to meet with the Truth, Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission, which was launched by the Ivory Coast [JURIST report] last month. The country hopes the commission will help to resolve conflicts stemming from the post-election violence. The 11-member commission, modeled on similar efforts [AP report] taken by South Africa during the post-apartheid era, is composed of Ivory Coast religious leaders and other dignitaries and is headed by former prime minister Charles Konan Banny. Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] was captured and forced from office [JURIST report] after refusing to leave despite losing last November's election to now President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile], which resulted in months of fighting between Ouattara's and Gbagbo's forces. More than 3,000 people were killed from December to April following the election. The commission is likely to hear complaints from the families of people killed by Gbagbo's military. Rights groups are insisting that the government hear cases from families of those killed by Ouattara forces as well.

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