Ivory Coast – Post-electoral crisis: Be Careful not to Jeopardise Recent Judicial Progress

Press release
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Together with 200 victims in the judicial proceedings related to the post-electoral crisis, our organisations (FIDH, Ivorian Movement for Human Rights and Ivorian League for Human Rights) welcome the recent progress in the investigations into the most serious crimes committed during that period, but are greatly alarmed by the risk of seeing these cases immediately closed, which would not allow for the holding of a proper trial.

After an international mission to Ivory Coast, FIDH, MIDH and LIDHO, – which have filed as civil parties and are assisting the victims before the Ivorian courts, – are greatly concerned by the consistent reports on the possibility that the investigations into the most serious crimes will be terminated at the end of June 2015.

In just a few months, the Ivorian justice department has made considerable progress in its investigations. But the premature closing of the investigations, which had been delayed for a long time, would jeopardise the good continuation of the legal proceedings and the victims’ hope for truth and justice, said Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and a lawyer for the victims.

Noteworthy progress has been made in moving the cases forward. For instance, several members of the FRCI, even high-ranking members, whose role had been highlighted in the report of the National Investigations Commission, have been formally accused by the Ivorian courts. However, there is still a lot to be done in looking for evidence and establishing responsibility, without even considering the work needed in the field of sexual violence or in certain geographical areas.

Political considerations, in particular electoral ones, must not dictate the speed of the judicial proceedings, to the detriment of the victims who would be dissatisfied with rushed trials,” said Yacouba Doumbia, MDH President.

Our organisations call upon the Ivorian authorities to guarantee the proper exercise of justice by allowing the Special Investigation and Examination Unit (Cellule spéciale d’enquête et d’instruction - CSEI) to pursue its investigations to completion, in preparation of upcoming trials, that must be impartial and fair.

The recent decision of the International Criminal Court concerning Simone Gbagbo shows that the Ivorian judiciary, in order to prove its credibility, has to make its inquiries more thorough and not try to make hasty decisions and run the risk of repeating the bad example seen in the trial on offences against the security of the State, said Drissa Traoré, FIDH Vice President.

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