Annual Report: Côte D’Ivoire 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Côte D’Ivoire 2013

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  • In March, a member of the former regular armed forces, detained in an FRCI camp in Abidjan, was undressed, handcuffed to an iron bar, beaten and had molten plastic poured on his body.
  • In August, police staff sergeant Serge Hervé Kribié died on the day he was arrested while being subjected to electric shocks in the FRCI command post in San Pedro. His fate remained unknown to his family for three weeks.

Refugees and internally displaced people

In June, an estimated 13,000 people were displaced after violent incidents in villages situated between Taï and Nigré along the border with Liberia. By the end of the year, some 160,000 Ivorians remained displaced, including an estimated 80,000 internally displaced people and nearly 60,000 refugees in Liberia. Armed attacks against civilians and military personnel provoked protection concerns as well as continued inter-communal mistrust and fresh displacements, mainly in the west of the country.

Human rights violations and abuses in the west

Insecurity remained persistent in the west of the country. Members of ethnic groups, including Guérés, who were perceived to have been supporters of Laurent Gbagbo, were targeted by FRCI and Dozos and were victims of extrajudicial killings, beatings, torture, unlawful arrests and enforced disappearances.

In July, members of the Dioula community, with the active involvement of Dozo fighters and FRCI soldiers, attacked a UNOCI-guarded displaced persons’ camp at Nahibly, outside Duékoué, which was home to approximately 4,500 people. The attack was reportedly launched in retaliation for alleged crimes by camp-dwellers, including the killing of four people in Duékoué. At least 13 displaced people were killed. Many were severely injured, including being tortured with drops of molten plastic and beaten. Dozens were arbitrarily arrested, many of whom remained disappeared.

In October a mass grave was discovered in Duékoué containing bodies thought to be those of people who disappeared after the camp was attacked. An investigation was opened but had made little progress by the end of the year.

Freedom of expression

There were numerous violations of the right to freedom of expression.

  • In September, the National Press Council suspended for six days all the daily newspapers close to the opposition party FPI, stating that photographs and captions relating to former President Gbagbo and former ministers prolonged the post-election crisis.

Justice system

Eighteen months after the post-election crisis, only people associated with former President Gbagbo’s government had been arrested. No members of the former Forces Nouvelles, nor any military officials or civilians responsible for serious human rights abuses supporting President Ouattara, had been brought to account.

Delays and shortcomings to the legal proceedings against relatives and aides of former President Gbagbo raised concerns that they may be held for a lengthy period without trial, or that they will be subject to trials which fail to meet international standards of fairness.

Between May and July, eight people were charged with genocide, including Simone Gbagbo, wife of former President Gbagbo.

On 20 December, the provisional release was announced of nine close aides of former President Gbagbo, mainly detained in the north of the country.

International justice

In February, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized the Prosecutor to investigate other relevant crimes committed between September 2002 and 2010.

While both sides were accused of international crimes, the ICC investigations focused on alleged crimes committed by the administration of former President Gbagbo.

Investigations into former President Gbagbo, transferred to the ICC in November 2011, barely progressed. In November, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for the former first lady, Simone Gbagbo, for alleged crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts, and persecution committed during the post-election crisis.