ICC prosecutor seeks authorization to probe Côte d'Ivoire violence
23 June 2011 – The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested authorization to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential run-off held last November.
At least 3,000 persons were killed, 72 persons disappeared and 520 persons were subject to arbitrary arrest and detentions in Côte d’Ivoire during the post-election violence, according to the sources quoted by the Prosecution in its application.
There are also over 100 reported cases of rape, while the number of unreported incidents is believed to be considerably higher, a news release issued by the Court stated.
The violence erupted when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after he lost the United Nations-certified election to Alassane Ouattara, who was eventually sworn in after Mr. Gbagbo surrendered in April.
If the judges grant the Prosecutor’s request, it will be the first time the ICC, which is based in The Hague, opens a case in a State that is not party to the Rome Statute, which set up the Court.
Côte d’Ivoire has, however, accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, and Mr. Ouattara sent a letter urging the Prosecution to open the investigation. He is also working closely with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to make sure that crimes committed in the West African nation do not go unpunished.
All ICC investigations so far related to crimes committed on the territory of States parties to the Rome Statute, or were carried out following a referral from the Security Council.
If authorized, Côte d’Ivoire will be the seventh investigation in Africa for the ICC, in addition to the Central African Republic (CAR), Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda, Kenya and Libya.
Regarding Libya, the ICC announced today that it is scheduled to render its decision on 27 June in relation to the Prosecution’s application for the issuance of three arrest warrants for Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi, one of his sons, Saif al-Qadhafi, and the head of the country’s intelligence forces, Abdullah al-Senussi, for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the ongoing conflict in the North African nation.
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