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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
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 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 Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
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 Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
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.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid