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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid