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World court begins Ivory Coast inquiry

Associated Press / October 4, 2011

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THE HAGUE - The International Criminal Court yesterday authorized an investigation into violence that left about 3,000 people dead after Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election last year.

The violence erupted after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara after losing the election in November.

Ouattara finally took office in May and asked the international court to investigate crimes committed by both sides.

Ivory Coast’s Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio welcomed the decision.

“It’s what we’ve been asking for,’’ he said by phone from Yamoussoukro. He said justice handed down through such a “strong and respected institution’’ would be the only way to ensure “total transparency.’’

Kouadio pledged there would be no impunity for pro-Ouattara fighters who were found by the court to have committed crimes during the crisis.

Gbagbo’s spokesman Kone Katinan said if he is to be judged, it should be by his own people rather than an international tribunal.

The announcement signaled the start of the court’s seventh investigation, all of them in Africa. So far, none of the cases has reached a verdict.

Ivory Coast is not a member of the court but has accepted its jurisdiction in the case.

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