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HRW: Ivory Coast government continues impartial justice for post-election crimes

The Ivory Coast government continues impartial justice for 2010-2011 post-election crimes committed by supporters of President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said in a report [text, PDF] released Thursday. The report details the five-month long post-election crisis, which resulted in at least 3,000 civilian deaths and erupted when former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archives] refused to step down [JURIST report] after losing the presidential election to Ouattara in November 2010. A 2012 report from the National Commission of Inquiry found both pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces responsible for serious international crimes. However, of the 150 individuals arrested and charged, none was of the pro-Ouattara forces. HRW urged Ouattara to fulfill his "repeated promises that all of those involved in serious crimes—regardless of political affiliation or military rank—will be brought to justice ... [because] the costs of ignoring justice, despite the real challenges that exist, is too high." While the Ivorian government has increased the national budget amount allocated to the justice sector from 2 to 3 percent, the report asks the government to develop a more comprehensive prosecutorial strategy, establish a witness protection program and provide security for judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers.

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] in February that the Ivory Coast national army is committing human rights violations [text, PDF] against pro-Gbagbo supporters. The report included detailed accounts of the alleged torture and inhumane treatment of political and ethnic prisoners, including members of Gbagbo's family. Also in February, Gbagbo appeared [JURIST report] before the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to determine whether the case against him will proceed to trial. Charles Ble Goude [Trial Watch backgrounder], the former Ivory Coast Minister for Sports and Youth and close political ally of Gbagbo, was charged [JURIST report] with war crimes and murder in January. Simone Gbagbo, Gbagbo's wife, was accused [JURIST report] of committing crimes against humanity during the post-election crisis. The ICC unsealed an arrest warrant [text, PDF] for implementing a plan that involved murder, sexual violence, other inhuman acts and persecution in collaboration with her husband and other government officials.

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