As presidential elections approach in Côte d’Ivoire, a new report finds that Ivoirians have little trust in their national justice system, considering it corrupt and unable to address the country’s 2010-11 electoral violence. Meanwhile, belief in the ICC’s ability help fill the impunity gap is tempered by perceptions of the Court as political.
We need more justice, by the Ivorian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (a national civil society network), surveyed 300 people from different social backgrounds countrywide on national, international and transitional justice between March and July 2014.
Côte d’Ivoire has seen several political crises over the past number of years. Most recently electoral violence in 2010-11 caused the deaths of over 3,000.
About 65% of the survey’s respondents said they do not trust the national judicial system or its ability to end to impunity in the country. Less than half (46%) said they trusted the country’s commission for dialogue, truth and reconciliation.
While over half (53.1%) of the respondents believe that the ICC can end to impunity in Côte d’Ivoire, 47% said they do not trust the Court, with 40% finding it biased and unfair.
79% of respondents said they had received no assistance for harm suffered during the post-election violence.
Call for justice on all sides at the ICC
In 2003 and 2010, the Côte D’Ivoire government asked the ICC to investigate into the post-election violence. The ICC prosecutor has to date brought cases against former president Laurent Gbagbo, a youth minister in his government, Charles Blé Goudé, and former first lady Simone Gbagbo.
Prosecutors believe that these three were involved in creating and executing a “common plan” to hold on to power by encouraging attacks on supporters of Gbagbo’s rival during the 2010 elections, current President Alassane Ouattara.
Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé will face trial in November 2015.
Last month, the ICC Appeals Chamber found the ICC case against Simone Gbagbo admissible before the Court despite her recent conviction by an Ivorian Court for charges related to the post-election violence. Judges ruled that she must be immediately transferred The Hague.
To date, no case has been opened against officials or supporters of President Ouattara.
Ali Ouattara, President of the CICPI:
“At the international level, in particular for ICC cases, we always call for all those who committed crimes to be prosecuted regardless of their political side. Côte d’Ivoire must bring its criminal codes in line with the ICC Rome Statute to allow full national prosecutions of grave crimes.”
Clément Capo-Chichi, regional coordinator for Africa, Coalition for the ICC.
“In order to implement its mandate with fairness and ensure that postconflict justice is done in Côte d’Ivoire, the ICC should commit to prosecute all those responsible for committing atrocities. Victims’ need for justice in the country is such that the Court needs to better communicate on the status of investigations and prosecutions.”
See the full report (in French)
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