Ivory Coast – investigation says both sides guilty of summary executions

Reuters Africa

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Around two-thirds of those killed in Ivory Coast’s civil war last year were summarily executed, many of them by fighters backing the current president, according to an inquiry commissioned by the government and seen by Reuters on Friday.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara smiles after a meeting with France's President at the Elysee Palace in Paris July 26, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Ivory Coast”s President Alassane Ouattara 

The investigation paves the way for the prosecution of actors on both sides of the war, which claimed more than 3,000 lives, and is seen as a significant step toward healing divisions in the West African country.

The national commission of inquiry (CNE) investigated violence between October 2010 and May 2011 and catalogued crimes including murder, rape, torture, forced disappearances and attacks on civilian populations.

“The CNE notes that, among the 3,248 victims registered, figure 2,241 cases of individuals summarily executed for apparent political and/or ethnic reasons,” read the report, which has not yet been published.

The fighting erupted after then-President Laurent Gbagbo rejected Alassane Ouattara’s victory in an election in late 2010, after a decade of political impasse that left Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, divided in two. By the beginning of last year, the violence had descended into civil war.

The commission found that 1,009 of those executions had been committed by pro-Gbagbo forces, including the army, irregular militia he funded and Liberian mercenaries recruited to fight on his behalf.

Gbagbo is currently in The Hague awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, and most of his political and military allies are either in detention in Ivory Coast or living in exile.  Read more…

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