In first, ICC opens case for Ivory Coast
October 3, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor at the ICC, asked judges in June for permission to open a case involving possible war crimes and crimes against humanity alleged to have been committed in Ivory Coast since November.
A pretrial chamber at the ICC said Monday it granted the prosecutor's request to investigate crimes committed since the November election. The chamber also requested additional information about crimes possibly committed from 2002-10, when Ivory Coast descended into a civil war that divided the country.
Ivory Coast was pushed to the brink of civil war following a political stalemate that lasted from November to April. The international community recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner of a November election though incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to stand down.
"After a preliminary examination, the ICC prosecutor concluded that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed in Ivory Coast since Nov. 28, 2010," the court said in a statement.
The ICC estimates at least 3,000 people were killed in the ensuing violence. There were also 100 reported cases of rape and 520 people were arbitrarily arrested.
Ouattara requested the investigation in a letter to the ICC. Humanitarian groups and the ICC said there is cause to believe both sides of the conflict committed crimes that fall under the court's jurisdiction.
Ivory Coast isn't party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC. The case marks the first investigation into a state that doesn't formally recognize the ICC's jurisdiction.