This report from HRW appeared some time ago (July 2012).
Human Rights Watch: The ICC has yet to establish his legitimacy in Ivory CoastBy Matt Wells
For now, the International Criminal Court (ICC), which celebrates its 10th anniversary, has issued arrest warrants against only one of two camps involved in recent Ivorian conflict. Senior officials of the "Government" of Côte d'Ivoire based on this fact to justify their own selective approach to justice. This ignores the thousands of victims and impedes the return of the rule of law in the country.These maneuvers of the Ivorian leaders make more urgent the need to see the new ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda examine, in a visible, all allegations of crimes, irrespective of political affiliations. Any delay in this matter only reinforces the position of those who seek to use the ICC for political ends.The day after the second round of the presidential election of November 2010, Côte d'Ivoire has experienced six months of serious human rights abuses in which at least 3,000 people were killed and hundreds of women raped, mainly for political and ethnic reasons. This violence was, in many ways, the culmination of a decade of impunity for serious crimes and serious political and ethnic tensions in a context where the law has largely given way to militias self-defense.Power has changed hands, but the impartial justice repeatedly promised by the "president" Alassane Ouattara is essential for the country to overcome its still deep community divisions.As the forces loyal to "former" President Laurent Gbagbo have(allegedly according to their opponents) committed most crimes in the first months of post-election crisis, pro-Ouattara (as well as the UN/French troops)forces have committed serious crimes after launching their military offensive action to remove Gbagbo from power . The armed forces of both sides were involved in war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, as has been documented, among others, by the International Commission of Inquiry appointed by the United Nations Operation in UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) (no wonder the UN is not accused at all ), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation of Human Rights.Fifteen months after the arrest of Gbagbo by(the French troops) the pro-Ouattara, the military and civilian prosecutors in Ivory Coast have indicted more than 140 people for post-election crimes , all belonging to Gbagbo(none from Ouattara side). The unilateral nature of lawsuits has drawn criticism from organizations of human rights groups, diplomats and Ivorian civil society. In response, government officials began to explain the lack of impartial justice by turning to an unlikely ally: the ICC.In an interview on July 8 with Radio France Internationale, Guillaume Soro, former Prime Minister Ouattara and current president of the National Assembly of Cote d'Ivoire, said about the lack of condemnation for crimes committed by his side: "So that wont indeed , be accused of victors' justice, we appealed to the International Criminal Court, [...] you can not suspect the ICC to be complacent or to choose ... so far ICC was asked to come and do investigations in Côte d'Ivoire. The ICC has, to my knowledge, issued only four warrant (Arrest) [all against the Gbagbo camp]. (And) you tell me (agree,) that the ICC has decided on the basis of investigations. "Invited by President Ouattara to investigate post-election violence, the ICC has quickly made the regrettable decision to proceed in stages to its investigations: first look on the Gbagbo camp, before conducting the promised investigations into crimes committed by pro-Ouattara forces . This decision was partly due to the challenges facing a court overwhelmed and inadequate budget. Ouattara government was prepared to assist the ICC to quickly mount a case against Gbagbo . The possible presence of Gbagbo in Ivory Coast also aroused security concerns during preparations for the parliamentary elections last December. From a practical standpoint, last November, the ICC responded to the Ivorian government's main wish: Gbagbo's transfer to The Hague.At the same time, the consequences of a strategy to proceed in stages were easily predictable. Arrests and prosecutions had already begun unilaterally in Ivory Coast. The ICC decision to focus first on the Gbagbo camp has only strengthen the sense of a victor's justice. As long as justice remains unilateral,community deep wounds in the country will be rekindled. And since Soro expressed very clearly, delays in the strategy of the ICC in Ivory Coast have been misinterpreted as a green light to implement selective justice in the country.Most moderate supporters of Gbagbo with whom I spoke during the last twelve months saw in the ICC the best hope of breaking the deadlock of a politicized judiciary, which was one of the main causes of political violence during the last decade in the country. Ivorian civil society has expressed a similar confidence in the ICC, at least when compared to the national judicial mechanisms. It must be deeply offensive to those Ivorians to see one of the most powerful people in the country rely on the ICC to justify the fact that victims of heinous crimes committed by the pro-Ouattara have no recourse for justice.Soro's remarks should be a warning signal for the ICC. The transfer of Gbagbo and his upcoming trial are positive steps for many victims and for international justice, but the ICC can no longer defer consideration of the atrocities perpetrated by the other side(by Ouattara's side). The legitimacy of the Court in Côte d'Ivoire is at stake more fundamental level, the feeling among a considerable number of Ivorians that the ICC acts as an instrument of those in power could further fuel the political and ethnic tensions and undermine the ability of the Court to obtain the cooperation of certain groups of victims in future investigations.The ICC does not aim to be unobtrusive against the government. Its role is to review, individually and impartially, the perpetrators of crimes within its jurisdiction, on the basis of evidence concerning high-ranking officials. In Ivory Coast, the Court must confirm clearly that no person having committed atrocities is above the law, regardless of military rank or party affiliation(or whether he's called Ouattara).
Matt Wells is a researcher at the Ivory Coast Human Rights Watch.
UN WATCH IVORY COAST ;
This report fails to accuse Ouattara or the UN/Frence troops directly . It's one thing to talk about pro Ouattara and another to present him as the supreme chef of the army which perpetrated the Duekoue genocide . Army which was ans still is under his orders. So as Gbagbo is currently incarcerated on the basis of allegations why HRW avoids to even give an hints about Ouattara being arrested for his crimes ? We read very hear pro-Ouattara should be suit by the ICC or arrested but never ever Ouattara has directly been accused when talking of crimes in Ivory Coast why ? And yet Gbagbo is in prison for crimes allegedly committed by his army,
Note all " " and words in brackets are ours not Mr Matt Wells.