Ivory Coast : FIDH, MIDH and LIDHO support the justice process and assist victims of the post-electoral crisis

Following a judicial investigation mission from 15 to 25 April 2012, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its two Ivorian organisation members, the Ivorian League of Human Rights (LIDHO) and the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH) have taken civil action before the Ivorian courts on behalf of 75 victims of serious human rights violations, perpetrated during the post-election crisis in 2010-2011.

As well as supporting victims of the serious human rights violations perpetrated by all parties during the Ivorian post-electoral crisis, this legal action seeks to contribute to the Ivory Coast’s truth, justice and reconciliation process, within the framework of recently opened national judicial inquiries.

“Our organisations wish to contribute to the justice effort in Ivory Coast and put victims at the heart of this process”, said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Legal Action Group Coordinator and Honorary President.

Those supported by our organisations before the Ivorian courts have suffered severe violations of their human rights, including summary execution, rape and other sexual abuses, torture, the destruction of dwellings, looting and more. These crimes were perpetrated by all parties to the civil conflict following the last presidential elections.

Although the International Criminal Court (ICC) can exercise jurisdiction over international crimes committed in Ivory Coast since 2002, and has already commenced prosecution of former President Laurent Gbagbo, who is held in The Hague, it cannot judge all the crimes nor all perpetrators. In light of the ICC’s principle of complementarity, our organisations have chosen to engage the national courts, to ensure the prosecution of other perpetrators of severe human rights violations.

“The Ivoirian courts shall be at the heart of this justice process, and it is important that our organisations share in this process by supporting victims who stand before the Ivorian justice system”, said Mr Yacouba Doumbia, MIDH President.

“It is essential to speak freely and tell the truth about what happened during the post-electoral crisis”, said Mr. René Légré Hokou, LIDHO President. “This is a necessary step for justice and reconciliation in Ivory Coast”, he added.

On 24 April 2012, FIDH, the LIDHO and the MIDH met with the Ivorian Prime Minister, Mr. Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio, who reasserted the prominence that is to be given to the justice process and the struggle against impunity.

“The challenge of justice is tremendous; yet it is absolutely essential to the present and future of Ivory Coast to take this challenge up”, said Sidiki Kaba, FIDH Honorary President: “All perpetrators of serious human rights violations must be held accountable before law, otherwise impunity will become the cause for the crises of tomorrow.”

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