Tutu urges impartial I Coast peace panel
Abidjan - Any suggestion that 'victor's justice' is being applied in Ivory Coast would undermine attempts to overcome its post-election bloodshed, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday.
Tutu spoke on the eve of the launch of a reconciliation commission tasked with healing wounds from the months-long conflict in Ivory Coast in which at least 3 000 died.
The Commission on Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation (CDVR) will be inaugurated in Yamoussoukro on Wednesday with the aim of bringing peace and "rebuilding the social fabric" of the once west African powerhouse.
Tutu headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in his country after the end of apartheid.
"We encourage President [Alassane] Ouattara to demonstrate to his people and the world that the judicial process he has started is both fair and completely impartial," the archbishop said in a statement by the Elders, the rights group he chairs.
Tutu added: "We are convinced that the perception that 'victor's justice' is being applied would greatly undermine the reconciliation process."
The Ivorian panel will have to deal with the decade of turmoil, coup attempts, political and sometimes ethnic-religious violence, that culminated in the post-poll unrest from last December to April.
Following the run-off vote on November 28, then president Laurent Gbagbo refused to admit defeat and hand over power to Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of the poll.
The months-long crisis culminated in weeks of warfare. Gbagbo was captured and is now under house arrest in the north of the country.
Ouattara promised reconciliation when he assumed the presidency in May but at the same time his regime is rounding up Gbagbo allies.
The group led by Tutu said: "The Elders emphasise that a successful commission should be inclusive and independent."
"The Elders encourage president Ouattara to take steps to demonstrate publicly his commitment to the commission's impartiality and independence. Reconciliation and justice are intertwined."