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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora