Justice in Côte d’Ivoire: the ICC Prosecutor should take action after Côte d’Ivoire recognized the ICC jurisdiction

Upon invitation by FIDH, representatives of its member organizations in Côte d’Ivoire, the Ligue ivoirienne des droits de l’Homme (LIDHO) and the Mouvement ivoirien des droits humains (MIDH) participated in a training in The Hague on the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 5-9 June 2006.

On 18 April 2003, Côte d’Ivoire, which is not a party to the Rome Statute, lodged an ad hoc declaration with the ICC accepting the court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed on its territory since 19 September 2002. It was not until February 2005 that the Registry of the ICC confirmed this declaration had been received.

Since then, three years after the declaration of the Ivorian government, and despite the submission of communications by FIDH, the existence of numerous reports on the serious violations of human rights in the country, in particular the LIDHO, MIDH and UNOCI (United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire) reports, as well as a United Nations list of 95 people responsible for human rights abuses in Côte d’Ivoire [1], all of which showing the existence of a reasonable basis to open an investigation, the ICC Prosecutor is still at the preliminary analysis stage.

During their training in the Hague, the Ivorian NGOs met with representatives of the various organs of the ICC and expressed their concern that despite the declaration of Côte d’Ivoire and great expectations from the Ivorian people that the ICC will try those responsible for the most serious crimes, the ICC Prosecutor has not yet opened an investigation in Côte d’Ivoire. These meetings have also been an opportunity to discuss on the lack of political will and capacity of the Ivorian Judiciary to try the perpetrators of the most serious crimes.

Despite the Prosecutor’s numerous declarations of its intent to send a mission to the country, the Prosecutor failed to do so. FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH are concerned that while the Prosecutor is at the stage of its preliminary analysis of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, serious violations of human rights are still committed in a climate of total impunity.

FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH therefore call upon the ICC Prosecutor to immediately send a mission to Côte d’Ivoire in order to assess the possibility of opening an investigation. The three organizations believe that this would send a clear message to the perpetrators of the most serious crimes that they will be call to account for their acts. Such a mission would also represent a first step to the acknowledgement of the continuing suffering of all the victims of the most serious crimes committed in Côte d’Ivoire.

FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH also urge the government of Côte d’Ivoire to fully cooperate with the Court in accordance with Article 12.3 and Chapter IX of the Rome Statute, and call upon the Ivorian authorities to ratify the Rome Statute.

Press contact:
in The Hague : Mariana Pena +31 (0)70 356 0259
in Paris : Gael Grilhot/Karine Appy + 33 (0)1 43 55 14 12

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