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Friday, February 24, 2012

Ivory Coast post-election violence investigation flawed: HRW
Jerry Votava at 2:05 PM ET

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[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] expressed concern [press release] Thursday over the investigation into post-election violence [JURIST news archive] in the Ivory Coast in 2010 and 2011 and advocated six-month extension of the probe. HRW's primary concern rests on the short time-frame of the investigation, begun in January 2012 and currently finalizing its findings, as well as reports that it has received that indicate that the investigation has been rushed and may miss important elements:
It appears unlikely to have adequately either documented the conflict's serious crimes or identified those responsible on both sides after only a month of investigations. ... In meetings with Human Rights Watch, Ivorian civil society. representatives, United Nations officials, and diplomats highlighted serious problems with the commission. They cited its failure to include representation from pro-Gbagbo groups and to consult sufficiently with civil society.
HRW expressed further concern that all 17 members of the investigating commission were chosen by President Alassane Ouattara [official website, in French], the winner of the election.

Earlier this week, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] 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, former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] appeared before the Pre-Trial Chamber III of the ICC [JURIST report] for an initial hearing. During the hearing 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 allegedly committed during last year's post-election violence in the Ivory Coast. Gbagbo was taken into custody [JURIST report] in November for his upcoming 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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