Two years after the discovery of the Togueï mass grave in Duékoué, where is the justice promised ?

Press release
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Abidjan, 10th October 2014 – Two years have passed since the discovery of 6 bodies in a well on the periphery of Duékoué in western Ivory Coast. Our organisations are concerned about the stagnation of judicial investigations into the events behind these killings and call for concrete progress on post-electoral crisis proceedings at the national level.

« We have just returned from a mission in the West of the country, about which we unfortunately do not bring good news. The judicial case regarding the attack on Nahibly IDP camp and the mass grave unearthed in Togueï has not moved forward over the last year » astated Mohamed Sanogo Pongathié, LIDHO lawyer.

FIDH, MIDH and LIDHO witnessed the exhumation of the mass grave in the Togueï district of Dékoué on the 11th and 12th October 2012. In presence of the deputy attorney of the Court of First Instance of Man, 6 bodies were found in a well in this district on the periphery of the city. The discovery took place shortly after an attack on Nahibly internally displaced persons camp on the 20th July 2012.

In 2013, our organizations filed a civil action and have since been accompanying victims through the justice process. However, the inadequate resources allocated to the public prosecutor and the weak political will, have both contributed to the stagnation of the case, despite the government’s engagement at the time of the discovery of this mass grave.

Patrick Baudouin, FIDH’s Honorary President and a lawyer for the victims has stated: «it is difficult to understand how the investigating judges in this case have not undertaken a single act of investigation in over a year. For example, the bodies of victims in Togueï were conveyed to Abidjan in October 2012 for autopsies, but no-one knows the outcome of these autopsiee, including the jurisdiction which is in charge of the case. Families wait in vain to be able to bury their relatives and are losing faith in a judicial institution apparently facing unjustified constraints ».

The judicial inertia is even more incomprehensible when one considers that not a single state official has been heard in the case, despite several individuals being identified by victims, including notably those within the Duékoué contingent of the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI). Likewise, no excavation of nearby wells has been undertaken – wells that could contain further bodies.

Such searches were supposed to be undertaken in coordination with the exhumation of Duékoue’s mass grave occasioned by the post-electoral crisis. This is an exhumation that has also not taken place. These facts highlight the need to reinforce the resources allocated to the Special Investigation and Examination Unit. This Unit has been charged with setting up a preliminary inquiry into crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis, in accordance with the presidential decree of 31st December 2013, providing for its renewal. Despite recurrent difficulties, the Unit has manifested its will to progress inquiry proceedings, with encouraging recent judicial actions having been taken. Our organizations reiterate their call for such progress to be the ordinary course of proceedings and to allow the public prosecutor to fullfill its mission.

One of the eleven wells in Toguei under the protection of ONUCI, while exhumation is still pending. October 2014 (© FIDH)

« At a time when the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission states that it has finished its work, we are concerned that inadequate resources have been put at the disposal of the national justice system, which is yet another essential component of true reconciliation. We therefore call upon the government to concretise its will to fight impunity by taking the necessary measures needed to secure the proper exercise of Justice », declared Drissa Traoré, FIDH Vice-President and lawyer to the victims.

On 1, October, 2014, the President of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CDVR) claimed to have completed the body’s action plan for national reconciliation. Although local commissions have allowed for the hearing of more than 64 000 people, many doubts remain about the futur use of those testimonies. Criteria for the selection, audition and restitution of victim testimonies at the public hearing in Abidjan (8th to 30th September) have left observers confused. Nevertheless, a mission conducted by our organisations has noted that local commission hearings continued to take place until the 10th October.

Line-up before the local commission of Duékoué on 9 October, 2014. (© FIDH))


On 20th July 2012, Nahibly internally displaced persons camp, in the outskirt of Duékoué in the west of Ivory Coast, was attacked by young people supported and supervised by elements of the Ivory Coast Republican Forces (FRCI) and Dozo traditional hunters. Seven persons were found dead, shot and burned, inside the camp, while dozens remain missing.


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