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Ivory Coast: New commission to probe abuses


Ivory coast President Alassane Ouattara, right, and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, left, shake hands after the first cabinet meeting since a new government was announced two days before, at Abidjan's Presidential Palace on June 3, 2011. The government faces the tough task of reconciling a country torn apart by the violence, especially in the west, where more than a million people were killed in the post-election crisis, according to the United Nations.


Sia Kambou

How is Ivory Coast going to pull itself together?

After five months of near civil war, President Alassane Ouattara has the challenge of bringing the country together and getting its democracy to function and its economy to return to being one of West Africa's most prosperous.

It's clear the country needs a full reconciliation process such as what South Africa did after apartheid. Ouattara has taken the first step by announcing his government will establish a national commission to investigate crimes committed during recent months of violence in which 3,000 people were killed.

The new body will "shed light on all the human rights violations committed during the post-electoral crisis," a government spokesperson said. Both Ouattara's forces and those loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo are accused of atrocities and Ouattara has vowed that all abuses will be punished.

Ouattara was sworn in in April after five months of conflict following the disputed presidential polls last November.

The decision to create an investigative body was made at a cabinet meeting, according to government spokesman Bruno Nabagne Kone.

Human Rights Watch charged Wednesday that Ouattara's authorities were only investigating abuses committed by Gbagbo's fighters.

The violence in Ivory Coast was triggered by the refusal of Gbagbo to accept defeat at the polls and to peacefully cede power and accept Ouattara's victory in presidential elections last November.