ICC: NPWJ and NRPTT welcome the pre-Trial Chamber III authorisation to launch an investigation in Côte d’Ivoire

4 Oct, 2011 | Press Releases

Yesterday, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (ICC) gave a positive answer to the Prosecutor’s request to commence an investigation in Côte d’Ivoire with respect to crimes allegedly committed in this country falling under the jurisdiction of the Court. The Pre-Trial Chamber granted authorisation to investigate not only those crimes committed since 28 November 2010, as requested by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), but also asked the Prosecutor to produce any information on crimes committed between 2002 and 2010 and to investigate crimes that may be committed in the future in the context of this situation.

Côte d’Ivoire, while not being a party to the Rome Statute, had accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC on 18 April 2003 and reconfirmed such acceptance on 14 December 2010 and 3 May 2011.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome the decision of the ICC to open an investigation on crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire. We particularly commend this decision of the ICC Judges, as they also request the ICC Prosecutor to produce within one month any additional information on crimes allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire between 2002 and 2010.

“The situation in Côte d’Ivoire has been under preliminary examination by the OTP since 1 October 2003, when then President Gbagbo agreed the Court may exercise jurisdiction over events since 19 September 2002. Given the extreme violence that has been perpetrated in Côte d’Ivoire from 2002 to 2010, we were concerned that the Prosecutor had unduly restricted the focus of his investigations only to events that happened since November 2010.

“Today’s decision is a fundamental step towards ensuring that impartial and effective justice is finally done for the Ivorian victims, which is a crucial precondition to achieve lasting peace. We urge the ICC Prosecutor to ensure that there is no impunity for crimes committed since 2002 in Côte d’Ivoire. This is the only chance for the country to break the cycle of violence by ensuring that those who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights abuses and crimes under international law against the civilian population are brought to justice, irrespective of their rank or political allegiance.

“NPWJ and the TNRP also urge the Court to start outreach in Côte d’Ivoire as soon as possible. With the judges’ decision to authorise the opening of an investigation, there is now a compelling need for the Court to engage with victims and affected communities in two‑way dialogue, to promote understanding of the Court and manage expectations, with a particular focus on women and children.”

For further information, contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3913