News / Africa

Rights Lawyer: Impartial Justice Key to Ivorian Reconciliation

Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, wife of Laurent Gbagbo, attends a rally at the Culture Palace in Abidjan, January 15, 2011.Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, wife of Laurent Gbagbo, attends a rally at the Culture Palace in Abidjan, January 15, 2011.
x
Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, wife of Laurent Gbagbo, attends a rally at the Culture Palace in Abidjan, January 15, 2011.
Simone Ehivet Gbagbo, wife of Laurent Gbagbo, attends a rally at the Culture Palace in Abidjan, January 15, 2011.
James Butty
Human rights lawyer Param-Preet Singh, senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, said some Ivorians believe that impartial justice is essential to bringing about reconciliation.

Singh said justice cannot be seen as just an instrument of the victorious, but rather justice must be blind in terms of political affiliations.

​The International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday made public an indictment against Simone Gbagbo, wife of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, for crimes against humanity.

The charges include "murder, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts, and persecution." Her husband is already in ICC custody awaiting trial on similar charges.

Singh said the arrest warrant means Gbagbo is heavily implicated in the decision-making that led to the commission of widespread crimes.

"From our perspective, we think that it’s important for the Ivorian authorities to cooperate fully with [the] ICC, either by surrendering Simone to The Hague or demonstrating the necessary capacity to try her in Cote d’Ivoire,” she said.

The ICC accuses Gbagbo of being her husband’s “alter ego” in orchestrating a campaign of election violence in 2010, in which 3,000 people died.

Reports said Gbagbo, who has been under detention for 18 months in the northwestern Ivorian town of Odienne, began testifying on November 13.

Butty interview with Singh
Butty interview with Singhi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Her arrest warrant is the first to be issued by the ICC for a woman.  Singh said this means the court has concluded that there is enough evidence to arrest her.

“I think what it says about the ICC is that they are willing to follow the allegations and the evidence regardless of whether or not the suspected perpetrator is a man or a woman.  So, I think that, in issuing the arrest warrant, the court has decided that there is enough evidence to arrest her in order to have her answer to the crimes that she allegedly committed,” Singh said.

Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front party Thursday condemned the arrest warrant as unjust.  Supporters of the former president criticized the ICC accusing it of uneven-handedness.

Singh said many Ivorians have told Human Rights Watch that, until there is impartial justice and until they are confident in the judicial system and in the rule of law, it would be very difficult to achieve reconciliation.

“I think that, in terms of the feelings in the Ivory Coast, certainly among the people that we spoke to in civil society, and what we heard time and again is that in impartial justice is essential to reconciliation, and, while we welcome the arrest warrant against Simone Gbagbo, it only underscores the urgency of the national authorities and the ICC conducting credible investigations and evidence permitting prosecutions of those in the pro-Ouattara forces,” she said.

The ICC has said it is committed to an impartial investigation and that it will only commence an investigation of alleged crimes by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara once it has completed its investigation of crimes allegedly committed by pro-Gbagbo forces.

“From our perspective, and certainly what we heard time and again in Cote d’Ivoire was that, this is a problematic policy because it does create the impression that the ICC is only interested in one-sided justice, and it certainly has sent a message to authorities in Cote d’Ivoire that one-sided justice or this sequence approach is appropriate and acceptable,” she said.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Miyanda Mobola from: Pretoria, South Africa
November 24, 2012 4:12 PM
I have, of course, not had access to the 'evidence' the ICC Prosecutor claims is in her possession. But what happened to the principle of complimentarity? If the authorities in Ivory Coast claim to be in power, why not use that power to try her and if found guilty punish her there?

Second, I am intrigued by these 'African warrants'! Is it justice if only government sends opponents? Who will send government forces to The Hague? Yet, there is plenty of evidence that both sides committed atrocities.

It is a pity African leaders are allowed by the ICC to only send opponents ignoring the ICC Statute which is clear about its mandate - to punish worst crimes regardless of whoever is involved and only after government is unable or unwilling to take necessary action.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More