Gbagbo's 'release key to I Coast peace'

2013-09-07 21:30

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Accra - Ivory Coast's fragile peace will fracture unless former president Laurent Gbagbo is released from the International Criminal Court's custody and allowed to return home, his spokesperson told AFP on Saturday.

Justin Kone Katinan, Gbagbo's ex-budget minister, is wanted in his home country for economic crimes allegedly committed as Gbagbo's regime crumbled during the civil conflict that followed disputed 2010 polls.

Last month, Ghana denied Ivory Coast's extradition request, and Katinan said he would remain in Ghana and continue to speak on behalf of Gbagbo, the man he calls Ivory Coast's legitimate president.

"My duty is to explain to the world that president Gbagbo is innocent and that his people want him back," Katinan said. "As long as he will be kept in this situation (ICC custody), the reconciliation in Ivory Coast will be compromised."

Gbagbo and his camp refused to accept Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara's victory in the fiercely contested polls.

An estimated 3 000 people were killed in the fighting that followed the vote.

After his arrest in April 2011, Gbagbo was transferred to the ICC in The Hague, accused of fomenting the violence.

Ouattara's critics have charged him with pursuing victor's justice by only punishing those who supported Gbagbo.

But the Ouattara administration counters that Gbagbo loyalists are actively trying to destabilise the country and unseat the president.

"People are feeling humiliated in Ivory Coast," Katinan said in an interview in Accra. "You can't control people that are frustrated."

But he dismissed reports including one by the United Nations which claim that Ivorian exiles in Ghana are plotting unrest back home.

"Are the Ivorian exiles idiots?" he said, insisting those who have fled the country know they cannot combat an Ivorian government with the international community's strong backing.

There have been isolated but deadly shootings along the countries' shared border which have been blamed on Ivorian dissidents.

Ghana's ruling National Democratic Congress party was seen by some as being allied with Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front (FPI).

But Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama has publicly vowed to crack down on any Ivorian exiles looking to sow chaos in their home country.

Katinan was arrested in Accra in August 2012, beginning a year-long legal saga that saw him released, re-arrested and charged with murder before being granted bail.

The court's decision to deny the extradition request appeared to end the legal wranglings, although Ghanaian prosecutors may appeal.

Read more on:    alassane ouattara  |  laurent gbagbo  |  ivory coast  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.