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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
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.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid