Rights group condemns Ivory Coast violations

Rights group condemns Ivory Coast violations

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[JURIST] The Ivory Coast national army is committing human rights violations against supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF; press release] Tuesday. According to AI, the national army, formed by President Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in response to election violence in 2010, as well as militia groups, “are carrying out extra-judicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, politically motivated arrests and torture” under the guise of fighting armed attacks. The report includes detailed accounts of the alleged torture and inhumane treatment of political and ethnic prisoners, including members of Gbagbo’s family. More than 3,000 people were killed [BBC report] and hundreds of thousands displaced in the 2010 political crisis in which Quattara ousted Gbagbo, who had refused to accept defeat [JURIST report] in the election. In its report, AI called for an international commission of inquiry into attacks committed against ethnic groups in the western Ivory Coast and urged Ivory Coast authorities to halt human rights abuses by security forces in order to end a “cycle of abuse and impunity” in the country.

Earlier this month Gbagbo appeared before [JURIST report] the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to determine whether the case against him, including charges of numerous crimes against humanity, will proceed to trial. In December the ICC Appeals Chamber [official website] dismissed a challenge by Gbagbo [JURIST report] alleging that the court lacks jurisdiction over him. A month earlier the ICC had unsealed an indictment [JURIST report] for Gbagbo’s wife, Simone, marking the first time that the court has brought charges against a female. That same month Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] released a report stating that Ivory Coast’s military committed widespread human rights abuses [JURIST report] in August and September. The ICC in October also denied Gbagbo’s motion asking the court for allowance to leave the Netherlands while he recovered from alleged maltreatment received while detained by national authorities in the Ivory Coast before being surrendered to the ICC almost a year earlier [JURIST reports].