Civil society: no amnesty for war crimes or crimes against humanity during 2010-2011 crisis
Eleven rights groups say it's essential that new Côte d’Ivoire amnesty doesn't extend to those responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity during 2010-11 post-election crisis. https://t.co/SGRexf3IGQ pic.twitter.com/qYV9rjFmC8— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) 9 augustus 2018
On 6th August 2018, President Alassane Ouattara announced he would grant amnesty to about 800 people who were convicted or accused of crimes during the 2010-2011 post-election violence. Violence erupted after the run-off presidential election on 28th November 2010 between the then incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. Gbagbo refused to accept the results and to step down, leading to a campaign of violence, Reports note that the ensuing armed conflict left over 3,000 people dead, with crimes committed by both sides.
The recently announced amnesty, implemented in the name of national reconciliation, extends to the wife of ex-president Gbabo, Simone Gbagbo. Despite the announcement, Ouatarra has stated the amnesty will not apply for 60 military members or members of armed groups who committed 'blood crimes'. National and international human rights groups have stated their reservations, as many more than 60 people have committed blood crimes. The 11 CSOs, including Amnesty International, Coalition ivoirienne des défenseurs des droits humains (CIDDH; Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders) and Ligue ivoirienne des droits de l'Homme (LIDHO; Ivorian League of Human Right) called on the authorities to not grant amnesty to those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes. In a joint statement, they said:
"To decide, after seven years of judicial proceedings involving hundreds of victims and alleged perpetrators, that only 60 people will face justice is not only an arbitrary decision but an act of disrespect to victims if it allows alleged perpetrators of war crimes and crimes humanity to escape prosecution."
During the six month long conflict, often fought along ethnic, political and religious lines, at least 3,000 civilians lost their lives and at least 150 women were raped. Laurent Gbagbo has been held in detention at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for the past seven years and has been tried since 2016 on charges of crimes against humanity.
Côte d'Ivoire: DECLARATION DE LA PLATEFORME MEDIA FOR CHANGE RELATIVE AU MEURTRE DE SORO KOGNON, MEMBRE DU #RACI https://t.co/hF2oCeos76— Media For Change (@mediaforchange3) 11 juli 2018
On 7th July 2018, unidentified perpetrators attacked and dispersed a peaceful assembly of the Korhogo local section of the political movement Rassemblement pour la Côte d'Ivoire (RACI), killing one person - Soro Kognon - and injuring at least ten people. Eleven human rights organisations strongly condemned the attack in a statement, saying it is a significant drawback to the democratic gains that have so far been achieved by the country. The platform Media for Change also considered the incident as a "serious infringement of the freedom of expression, association and assembly, as guaranteed by the Ivorian Constitution".
Civic Space Developments