ICC best to judge Gbagbo - Ouattara

2011-12-02 07:19

Conakry - Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said on Thursday the International Criminal Court was the best-place to judge his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, on murder and rape charges.

"Now he is in the hands of the international court, we prefer that, we said from the start ... there is nothing better than international, impartial justice," Ouattara told journalists.

He was speaking on a one-day visit to Guinea a day after Gbagbo was handed over to the ICC in The Hague where he will face charges of murder, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts.

The crimes were allegedly committed between December 16 2010 and April 12 2011 - a period of electoral violence as Gbagbo refused to accept poll results which showed his rival Ouattara had won and had to be violently ousted.

About 3 000 people were killed in months of violent clashes.

Ouattara said Gbagbo's departure from Ivory Coast was done "with the greatest discretion. There were no images of president Gbagbo in handcuffs, we wanted to respect his Ivorian dignity with the consideration due a former head of state", he said.

Ouattara is in Guinea for a one-day visit during which he and his counterpart Alpha Conde will discuss reconciliation efforts in their troubled countries.

Human rights group Amnesty International said Gbagbo's transfer to the ICC marked the first significant step in addressing impunity for crimes in Gabon, though it urged to ICC to broaden its scope of enquiry to earlier than 2010.

"The transfer of Laurent Gbabgo gives hope to some of the thousands of victims of these crimes committed by all parties over nearly a decade," Amnesty said in a statement.

Guinea's presidential election was held on November 7 2010, a few weeks before the disputed poll in neighbouring Ivory Coast, and also sparked clashes, leaving about a dozen people dead.

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