News / Africa

Ivory Coast to Exhume Bodies From Post-Election Conflict

Adama Fofana,  who says two of his brothers were killed in post-election violence and their bodies dumped in a mass grave, watches the televised trial of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, Feb. 19, 2013.
Adama Fofana, who says two of his brothers were killed in post-election violence and their bodies dumped in a mass grave, watches the televised trial of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, Feb. 19, 2013.
Ivory Coast officials say exhumations of mass graves dating back to the country’s 2010-11 post-election violence will begin next week.  Both the government and rights workers say this process could produce a fuller picture of what went on during the six-month conflict and help in the fight against impunity.  
 
The Justice Ministry announced this week that exhumations would begin on April 4 in the Abidjan district of Yopougon, which was a flashpoint during the post-election violence.
 
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.
x
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.
Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo attends a confirmation of charges hearing in his pre-trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, February 19, 2013.
The conflict began after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office despite losing the November 2010 election to his challenger, current President Alassane Ouattara.
 
Although Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011, rights groups documented reprisal killings in Yopougon allegedly committed by the pro-Ouattara Republican Forces of Ivory Coast, or FRCI, that lasted into the following month.
 
Earlier this month, officials also began investigating more mass graves discovered outside the western town of Duekoue.

Unlike the graves in Yopougon, these graves are believed to have been dug after the post-election conflict - following a July 2012 raid on a camp for displaced persons.
 
Florent Geel, Africa director for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), praised the beginning of the probes, but urged judicial officials to carry out a thorough investigation.

“It was the search and identification on the ground by the investigative judges of two mass graves identified by our witnesses," said Geel. "It was concretely the beginning of the inquiry by the investigative judge. It’s a first step of the judiciary machine in a way, and a concrete step to go forward and to have a real and clear investigation.”
 
FIDH documented interviews with witnesses who said that FRCI soldiers were involved in the raid on the camp.  Officially, the attack claimed eight lives, though rights groups have said the death toll was likely much higher.
 
One mass grave found in the area was exhumed last October, yielding six bodies.  But Geel said there are about a dozen others that have not been investigated.
 
The army commander in the region was reassigned after the attack on the camp, and officials have not formally responded to the allegations of military involvement.
 
Geel said a credible investigation would help to dispel the perception that Ouattara’s army is above the law.
 
“If justice is done on this case, it will show there is not orientated justice, and that the FRCI is not out of the scope of justice and that the FRCI can be judged in Côte d’Ivoire," he said. "That’s why this case is symbolic, important, and could show the good will of the political authorities in Abidjan.”

Soriba Kone, communications chief for the Justice Ministry, said he did not know how many mass graves officials would need to investigate, nor could he provide a timeline for when the effort might be completed.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid