Member Sign In
International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
PDF Print E-mail
Cote d’Ivoire: Leaders Should Prevent Abuses by their Forces

Human Rights Watch
24 February 2011 

(…) Leaders from both sides of the worsening political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire should take all necessary steps to prevent abuses by their forces, Human Rights Watch said today. (…)

(…) Human Rights Watch has documented massive recruitment by both sides in recent weeks in the financial capital, Abidjan, and in the area where the new clashes occurred. Witnesses have described Gbagbo's forces training youth militias in Abidjan and Duékoué, a town in the far west, while other witnesses have described troop movements by Forces Nouvelles in the west and an expansion of the group into several Abidjan neighborhoods. 

Human Rights Watch has also documented the recruitment and deployment of Liberian mercenaries in recent weeks, and credible sources indicate that some Liberian mercenaries fought alongside Gbagbo's forces during the February 24 clash. The possible use of former fighters from Liberia's civil war, in which widespread atrocities were committed, raises further concerns about the security of the civilian population, Human Rights Watch said. (…)

(…) Clashes have also erupted in recent days in the Abidjan neighborhood of Abobo, with heavy fighting between Gbagbo's forces and fighters believed to be linked to the Forces Nouvelles who call themselves the Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples of Abobo-Anyama (MLP-2A). At least 17 people have been reported killed since February 21, with sources inside both camps indicating that the toll could be much higher. Scores of residents in Abobo, particularly an area known as PK-18, are fleeing the area, as continued fighting appeared likely. 

During the civil war and its aftermath, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, and others documented serious violations of international humanitarian law by security forces and militia loyal to Gbagbo as well as the Forces Nouvelles. These included summary executions, torture, attacks on the UN, and the recruitment of child soldiers. There has been virtually no accountability for these crimes.

In the event of an armed conflict, both sides are obligated to respect international humanitarian law, or the laws of war. The laws of war prohibit deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian property; require the humane treatment of all prisoners, wounded, and civilians in custody; and oblige parties to facilitate access to humanitarian aid. Individuals who deliberately or recklessly commit serious violations of the laws of war are responsible for war crimes. 

"Civilians have long borne the brunt of armed conflict in Côte d'Ivoire," Bekele said. "Commanders from both sides need to ensure that their fighters do not commit abuses, or they risk prosecution for war crimes." (…)

See full article. 


Browse Documents by Region:

International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
c/o World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
708 Third Avenue, Suite 1715, New York, NY 10017