News / Africa

What Next In Ivory Coast?

Local residents react to news of the capture of Laurent Gbagbo in the Youpougon neighborhood of Abidjan, Apr 11 2011
Local residents react to news of the capture of Laurent Gbagbo in the Youpougon neighborhood of Abidjan, Apr 11 2011
Joe DeCapua

Two former U.S. diplomats say reconciliation in Ivory Coast will be difficult after the latest crisis, but they say careful investigations of alleged human rights abuses, international support and an improved economy would help.

Former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs Jendayi Frazer and former ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell are now both senior fellows at the Council of Foreign Relations, an independent, non-partisan think tank based in New York.

Frazer says it appears that U.N.-backed President Alassane Ouattara is making the right moves, following the ouster of Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after losing last November’s presidential elections.

“President Ouattara is taking a lot of the important steps. He’s signaling very clearly to both his forces to put down their arms, as well as to those who have supported Gbagbo that there will be a process of reconciliation and that there will be no witch hunting,” she said.

Frazer also said Ouattara must signal the U.N. that it still has a vital role to play, including the restoration of human rights.

“It was not simply a matter of the civilians [being] protected, according to their mandate, now that Gbagbo is arrested. But, in fact, they need to continue to play that role of trying to help him secure the country during this transition phase,” she said.

International Criminal Court

Some have called for Gbagbo to be brought before the International Criminal Court for his alleged rights abuses.

Frazer said, “I’m not necessarily a fan of another African case at the International Criminal Court.”

She favors an African solution. “I would rather see Mr. Gbagbo taken out of the country, held in some type of custody, whether it’s house arrest or jailed, and then the Ivoirian courts be re-legitimized…to actually hold a trial against him,” she said.

Another possible solution, she said, would be the establishment of a regional African court of human rights.

The former assistant secretary of state says for any credible trials to take place, there must first be investigations of alleged rights abuses by both sides in Ivory Coast.

Reconciliation?

Meanwhile, former U.S. ambassador John Campbell said there must be disarmament of both factions and a reintegration into Ivoirian life. But he said reintegration will not be easy and poses some tough questions.

“What do you do to reunify a badly fractured country? What do you do to break down this insidious distinction between so-called indigents and so-called settlers, even when the settlers have lived or their families have lived in Cote d’Ivoire for 50 or 60 years? How do you move beyond those kinds of identities into a broader Ivoirian identity? I mean this is a long and painful process.”

The answer may lie in the quality of life for all Ivoirians.

“It’s a process,’ he said, “that becomes much easier if the economy is on the upswing. In effect, what was in many respects West Africa’s strongest economy, has essentially been severely damaged, aspects of it destroyed, over the past 10 or 12 years. And what that’s done is make everything worse,” he said.

Don’t forget

Campbell said the international community must remain engaged over the long term.

“If Ivory Coast is to move out of the current crisis, it’s going to need the support of the international community,” he said, “It’s going to need humanitarian aid and assistance. It’s also going to need political support and encouragement. And the legitimate government will benefit from the fact that the international community is watching,”

However, he added, “What worries me is that too often the international community has a very short attention span and simply moves on to the next crisis that dominates the news cycle. Were that to happen with respect to Cote d’Ivoire, the whole process would at very least take much longer and might well be compromised in some way that’s hard to foresee.”

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

China to Invest $20 billion In India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high profile visit More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid