News / Africa

    Amnesty Report Condemns Persecution of Gbagbo Supporters

    An injured supporter of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo reacts outside the premises of Hotel Golf, where Gbagbo was being held after his arrest, in Abidjan, April 11, 2011.
    An injured supporter of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo reacts outside the premises of Hotel Golf, where Gbagbo was being held after his arrest, in Abidjan, April 11, 2011.
    Amnesty International is accusing Ivory Coast’s government of using the courts and security forces to persecute supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo - who is facing a possible trial before the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Amnesty's report is the latest voice of concern that there is one-sided justice, following the country’s recent post-election conflict.

    Tensions continue to run high in Ivory Coast nearly two years since the end of post-election violence that began after Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept that he had lost the 2010 election to Alassane Ouattara, the current president.

    More than 3,000 people died during six months of combat and fighters loyal to both men allegedly committed war crimes.

    To make matters worse, a wave of attacks began last August by unidentified gunmen on security installations throughout the country. In response, Amnesty International says President Ouattara’s security forces rounded up hundreds of Gbagbo supporters, many of whom were subjected to ill-treatment and torture.

    In a new report this week, Amnesty says the most extreme methods of abuse were electric shock and the burning of detainees’ bodies with molten plastic.

    Gaëtan Mootoo, the Amnesty researcher who authored the report, says the security forces’ behavior is an example of so-called victor’s justice. To date, only Gbagbo supporters have been arrested and detained in connection with the post-election violence, despite the fact that rights groups have also implicated many high-level Ouattara backers in abuse.

    “There can’t be reconciliation without proper justice," he said. "These people, I mean everybody knows them. We can’t say, ‘Where are they?’ Everybody knows them. And, even some of them have been targeted by the U.N. and their names are known and they could easily be identified.”

    Mootoo says the problems facing the country have been especially visible in the west, where Ouattara’s army has apparently teamed up with traditional hunters, known as dozos, to provide security. Ever since the conflict ended, Gbagbo supporters have complained of violations ranging from arbitrary arrests to extrajudicial killings in the region.

    Last July, a camp for displaced persons was overrun by an angry mob in the western town of Duekoue. Like other human rights groups, Amnesty says it is clear that dozos and soldiers were involved in the attack, which killed at least eight people.

    Mootoo notes that, given the one-sided nature of the judiciary for the past two years, there is no reason to expect a credible investigation from the national courts. The new Amnesty report calls for an international commission of inquiry into the attack on the camp - what may be the most significant incident of violence against civilians since the post-election conflict ended.

    “Of course, they told us that they have opened an inquiry. But, at the same time, they have done that on other, similar cases and we haven’t seen anything yet. This is why we are asking for an international commission of inquiry," he said.

    In a written response to Amnesty, Ivorian authorities do not address specific allegations laid out in the report. Ivorian authorities have previously vowed to bring to justice all perpetrators of crimes both during and after the conflict, regardless of political affiliation.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora