News / Africa

Former Ivory Coast Leader’s ICC Hearing Renews Frustration

Traditional hunters known as dozos accost a truck driver at an illegal checkpoint north of the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, February 15, 2013. (Robbie Corey-Boulet for VOA)  Traditional hunters known as dozos accost a truck driver at an illegal checkpoint north of the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, February 15, 2013. (Robbie Corey-Boulet for VOA)
x
Traditional hunters known as dozos accost a truck driver at an illegal checkpoint north of the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, February 15, 2013. (Robbie Corey-Boulet for VOA)
Traditional hunters known as dozos accost a truck driver at an illegal checkpoint north of the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, February 15, 2013. (Robbie Corey-Boulet for VOA)
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is set to appear before judges at the International Criminal Court Tuesday.  He faces charges of crimes against humanity in the wake of the violent conflict that plagued the West African nation after national elections in 2010. The confirmation of charges hearing will allow judges to determine whether Gbagbo’s case should go to trial. But in the western Ivory Coast town of Duekoue, a flashpoint of the conflict, some Gbagbo supporters are wondering why no one is being held accountable for atrocities they say were committed against them.  

In Duekoue’s Carrefour neighborhood, a group of boys plays football across the street from a lumpy plot of grass. The plot is a mass grave containing dozens of bodies of victims of a massacre during Ivory Coast’s election crisis.
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.
x
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo.

​On March 29, 2011, fighters loyal to Ivory Coast’s current president, Alassane Ouattara, stormed the neighborhood in search of supporters of former president and political rival  Gbagbo. In the ensuing violence, hundreds of civilians are believed to have been killed.

A United Nations report concluded that most of the victims appeared to have been killed by Ouattara's fighters, but that scores were also killed by Gbagbo troops.

Gbagbo’s refusal to accept defeat by Ouattara in Ivory Coast's November 2010 runoff vote sparked six months of violence that claimed at least 3,000 lives. But while evidence collected by rights groups and journalists suggests that serious crimes were committed by both sides, so far only Gbagbo supporters have been charged and detained both in local courts and at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

That angers 49-year-old Georges Doue, a Carrefour resident who lost seven relatives, including an elder brother, during the Duekoue massacre. His wife had given birth the day before the attack, and she fled to the town’s Catholic mission with their newborn son still attached by the umbilical cord.  

He says the people who attacked are the ones who are in power now and ruling the country. They are not worried at all, he says, and it is difficult to see. He says these same people are still circulating and carrying guns, and this is a situation that traumatizes the community.

For months after the fighting stopped and Ouattara assumed office in May 2011, residents of Duekoue complained of abuses carried out by Ouattara’s army, including beatings and summary executions. Residents today say these crimes have decreased considerably. But illegal roadblocks are still being operated by soldiers and traditional hunters known as dozos, who often demand bribes in exchange for passage.  

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (L) uses an ipad prior to attending African Union talks in Addis Ababa, March 10, 2012.Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (L) uses an ipad prior to attending African Union talks in Addis Ababa, March 10, 2012.
x
Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (L) uses an ipad prior to attending African Union talks in Addis Ababa, March 10, 2012.
Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara (L) uses an ipad prior to attending African Union talks in Addis Ababa, March 10, 2012.
Ouattara has promised to investigate reports of human rights abuses. But there is concern that judicial officials have been slow to look into crimes committed after the conflict ended.

Last July, a camp for displaced persons - many of them from Carrefour - was burned down by an angry mob that local residents say received assistance from the army and dozo hunters. At least eight people were killed, though rights groups have said the number may be higher.  

Colette Goungnonhi, who lives in a village three kilometers outside of Duekoue, lost her pregnant daughter and a young grandson in the Carrefour raid, and later was forced to flee the attack on the camp for displaced persons.

Though she supported Gbagbo in the 2010 election, she said she had no problem with the ICC proceedings against him, and that if he committed crimes he should be punished. But she said the same should apply to Ouattara’s fighters.

She says we do not know who we can complain to.  She says she feels a pain in her heart when she sees the security forces. "I feel revolted," she says. "I have no power and I have no ability to change things.”

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid