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The need for justice for Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election crimes (HRW report)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) publicou a semana pasada un informe dunhas cento trinta páxinas sobre os crimes de guerra cometidos por ambos bandos durante os episodios de violencia postelectoral en Costa de Marfil (decembro do 2010 – xuño do 2011). O informe leva por título “They Killed Them Like It Was Nothing”. The Need for Justice for Côte d’Ivoire’s Post-Election Crimes. Copio un extracto da súa introdución:

On November 28, 2010, Ivorians went to the polls to elect a president, hoping to end a decade-long crisis during which the country was divided politically and militarily between the north and south. In the week that followed this run-off election, despite clear international consensus that Alassane Ouattara had won, incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down. The post-election crisis then evolved from a targeted campaign of violence by Gbagbo forces to an armed conflict in which armed forces from both sides committed grave crimes. Six months later, at least 3 000 civilians were killed and more than 150 women were raped in a conflict that was often waged along political, ethnic, and religious lines.

Elite security force units closely linked to Gbagbo dragged neighborhood political leaders from Ouattara’s coalition away from restaurants or out of their homes into waiting vehicles; family members later found the victims’ bodies in morgues, riddled with bullets. Women who were active in mobilizing voters—or who merely wore pro-Ouattara t-shirts—were targeted and often gang raped by armed forces and militia groups under Gbagbo’s control, after which the attackers told the women to “go tell Alassane” their problems. Pro-Gbagbo militiamen stopped hundreds of real and perceived supporters of Ouattara at checkpoints or attacked them in their neighborhoods and then beat them to death with bricks, executed them by gunshot at point-blank range, or burned them alive.

Abuses by pro-Ouattara forces —ultimately known as the Republican Forces, following a March 17 Ouattara decree— did not reach a comparable scale until the beginning of March, when they launched an offensive to take over the country. In Duékoué, the Republican Forces and allied militias massacred hundreds of people, pulling men they alleged to be pro-Gbagbo militiamen out of their homes and executing them unarmed. Later, during the military campaign to take over and consolidate control of Abidjan, the Republican Forces again executed scores of men from ethnic groups aligned to Gbagbo —at times in detention sites— and tortured others. […]

The brutality against perceived Ouattara supporters reached appalling levels. Between December 2010 and April 2011, pro-Gbagbo militiamen stopped hundreds at checkpoints based on the person’s dress or name on an identity card; they often proceeded to beat the victim savagely, pile tires and wood and douse petrol on the limp body, and then burn the person alive. The practice became known as article 125: 100 francs CFA (US $0.23) for petrol, 25 francs CFA for the box of matches. Others were shot at point-blank range: a 40-year-old man from Burkina Faso described being detained at an Abidjan checkpoint on March 29 along with eight other West African immigrants; police told all the immigrants to walk in one direction, and as they did, opened fire. The witness received two gunshots but was able to survive, unlike six others killed next to him.

In the far west, Gbagbo militiamen and Liberian mercenaries killed hundreds identified predominantly by ethnicity. In one particularly heinous event in Bloléquin on March 25, people who had taken refuge in the town prefecture awoke to the Gbagbo forces having recaptured part of the town from the advancing Republican Forces. As they swarmed into the prefecture, the Gbagbo forces demanded that the inhabitants speak Guéré, the language of an ethnic group in the far west that largely supported Gbagbo. Those who could not speak it as a mother tongue were gunned down. Three days earlier, the same group of mercenaries and militiamen killed at least 37 people, mostly West African immigrants, in nearby Bédi-Goazon village.

As the Republican Forces began their offensive in early March, they likewise engaged in collective punishment of real and perceived Gbagbo supporters. In the far west, the Republican Forces executed at point-blank range elderly Guéré villagers who were unable to flee. One woman said she watched her father, husband, and son all killed in front of her. The Republican Forces held women and raped them in towns where military bases were located. They burned entire villages to the ground. The Republican Forces committed atrocities similar to those they committed in the far west, although on a smaller scale, once they controlled Abidjan. […]

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12 Outubro 2011 - Posted by | Amnesty International, Côte d'Ivoire, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Politics

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