Sunday 18 March 2018

List of 'blood crimes' targets is being drawn up by Ivory Coast


Officials in Ivory Coast are drawing up a list of ministers, generals and journalists to be charged with blood crimes, corruption and hate speech, the justice minister responsible for human rights said yesterday.

Top of the list is Charles Ble Goude, youth minister in the disgraced government of arrested former President Laurent Gbagbo, who organised a violent anti-French and anti-UN gang that has terrorized foreigners and civilians.

On Friday, a government spokesman said Mr Ble Goude had been arrested. But Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou said that was a case of mistaken identity.

Mr Ble Goude is known as the "street general" for organising the violent gang that terrorised Ivory Coast's foreign population between 2004 and 2005. More recently he incited his Young Patriots, a militia-like gang of thugs, to attack foreigners as well as supporters of democratically elected President Alassane Ouattara.

Hundreds of people have been killed since Mr Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat in November elections and turned heavy weapons on civilians.

Pro-Ouattara fighters captured him last Monday after UN and French forces bombed the presidential residence where he had taken refuge in a fortified underground bunker.

"We are investigating every member of the Cabinet of Mr Gbagbo for blood crimes, money crimes, buying guns and other arms," Mr Ahoussou said in a telephone interview.

He said he also was investigating journalists who broadcast hate speech. Former rebel forces that fought to install Mr Ouattara are also accused of atrocities, including the slaughter of hundreds of civilians in western Ivory Coast, a stronghold of Mr Gbagbo's Bete tribe and allied Guere people.

Mr Ouattara said last week that Mr Gbagbo will be tried by both national and international courts for his alleged crimes.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has said it is conducting a preliminary examination into crimes perpetrated by all sides in the conflict.

Sunday Independent

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