Prosecutor seeks authorisation to investigate Ivory Coast violence 23 Jun 2011
Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced yesterday that he will submit a request to the ICC judges to launch an investigation into the violence that followed November's disputed presidential elections.

Today Mr Moreno-Ocampo "will request authorisation from the judges to open an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Cote d’Ivoire," according to the International Criminal Court’s press release.

Last week, he issued a public notice asking victims of November’s violence to give statements. In May, following his swearing in, President Alassane Ouattara (right), asked the ICC to launch an investigation into the most serious crimes, with the national justice system to handle the lesser crimes. Plans were announced to establish an investigatory commission in Cote d’Ivoire earlier this month, with an expected mandate of at least two years. 

At least 3,000 people died in the bloody post-election violence before Ouattara, the recognised election winner, finally managed to oust Laurent Gbagbo, with support from UN and French troops, last November. The country is still suffering from ongoing violence, with Gbagbo and factions loyal to Ouattara allegedly still engaging in retaliatory attacks, with both sides allegedly committing war crimes.

According to an April report by Human Rights Watch, the pro-Ouattara forces, also known as the Republican Forces of the Ivory Coast, killed more than 100 civilians, raped at least 20 Gbagbo supporters and burned at least 10 villages in March. The organisation also urged Ouattara to conduct an investigation into these alleged atrocities carried out by his forces to secure his presidency. In April, a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross announced that at least 800 civilians had been killed in the town of Duekoue, with the rival forces blaming each other for the deaths.

If the ICC Chamber grants Mr Moreno-Ocampo authorisation to proceed, he will open an independent investigation, with a view to issuing summons to appear or arrest warrants based on the evidence his office collects. 

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