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Ivory Coast commission reports war crimes committed during post-election violence

The Ivory Coast's commission of inquiry into the country's 2010 post-election violence [JURIST news archive] submitted a report to President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] on Wednesday revealing that hundreds of fighters on both sides of the hostilities committed war crimes and human rights violations. Following the disputed November 2010 election pro-Ouattara forces clashed with forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile], who had refused to concede after Ouattara was declared the winner. According to the commission's findings [AP report] 545 pro-Ouattara fighters committed executions and 54 committed torture, and on the other side 1,009 pro-Gbagbo fighters committed executions and 136 committed torture. The Ivory Coast has been criticized because several Gbagbo supporters have been arrested for their roles in the conflict, but no Ouattara supporters have been arrested. Justice Minister Matto Loma Cisse has stated that prosecutions would begin now that the investigation was finished, and Ouattara has reaffirmed his commitment to evenly prosecuting both sides. The commission to investigate the post-election hostilities was established [JURIST report] in July 2011, and while the commission's full report has yet to be released to the public, Ouattara stated that it would be made available soon. Over 3,000 individuals died in the Ivory Coast during the post-election violence.

In February Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] expressed concern [JURIST report] over the short time-frame of the investigation and advocated six-month extension of the probe. Earlier that month International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] then-Prosecutor [official website] Luis Moreno-Ocampo was granted permission [JURIST report] by a pretrial chamber to expand his investigation of war crimes in the Ivory Coast to incidents dating back to 2002. In December Gbagbo appeared before the Pre-Trial Chamber III of the ICC [JURIST report] for an initial hearing, during which the court verified Gbagbo's identity and ensured that he was informed of the four charges against him, including murder, persecution, inhumane acts and rape and other forms of sexual violence. Gbagbo was taken into custody [JURIST report] in November for his appearance before the court. In October Moreno-Ocampo traveled to the Ivory Coast [JURIST report] to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during post-election violence following the November 2010 elections.

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