President Ouattara Urged to Approve Côte d’Ivoire’s Ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Press Release
December 13, 2012

President Ouattara Urged to Approve Côte d’Ivoire’s Ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(Washington, D.C.) - After a delegation from Amnesty International met Wednesday (Dec. 12), with Guillaume Kigbafori Soro, current president of the National Assembly and former prime minister of Ivory Coast, Frank Jannuzi, Amnesty International deputy executive director and head of Amnesty International USA’s Washington office, issued the following comments:

“Amnesty International welcomes the news shared with us by Mr. Soro that the National Assembly has taken a significant commitment towards ending impunity and protecting human rights by amending the Ivorian Constitution to allow Ivory Coast to ratify the Rome Statute. This development is a major step towards strengthening the rule of law in Ivory Coast and ensuring that crimes under international law, such as those committed in post-election violence in 2010 that claimed the lives of over 3,000 people, cannot be repeated with impunity.”

Amnesty International urges the Ivorian government to take all necessary steps to ensure that its instrument of ratification is promptly deposited with the United Nations Treaty Office in New York to complete the process.

The Parliament will also need to pass legislation to ensure that domestic laws ensure full cooperation with the International Criminal Court and that national authorities can fulfil their obligations to investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes before national courts.

“The Ivorian authorities should conduct full investigations into alleged crimes committed in the country by all parties since 2002 so that justice is delivered to all victims,” said Adotei Akwei, managing director of government relations for Amnesty International USA.

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is currently facing pre-trial proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague which will determine whether he will be prosecuted for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the country. This past Nov. 22 the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant for former first lady Simone Gbagbo, on four counts of crimes against humanity during post-election violence in 2010 – murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and other inhumane acts and persecution. Amnesty International calls on the Côte d’Ivoire to surrender Simone Gbagbo immediately to the ICC.

Since October 2011, the ICC has been investigating crimes under international law committed in Ivory Coast during post-election violence between pro-Gbagbo and pro- Ouattara forces a year earlier. Amnesty International has repeatedly called upon national authorities and the ICC Prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by all sides which the organization documented since 2002.

While all the parties to the conflict since 2002 have been accused of crimes, the two ICC arrest warrants in relation to Ivory Coast to date, focus on alleged crimes by the Ivorian Defense and Security Forces and youth militias and mercenaries who were loyal to President Gbagbo.

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Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.