Côte d'Ivoire Civil Society Welcomes Hand-Over Of Bodies Of Victims From Post-election Violence In The Cavally Region

The morgue of the Treichville University Hospital (archive image)

Abidjan, March 09, 2023 - The Ivorian League for Human Rights (LIDHO), the Confederation of Organizations of Victims of the Ivorian Crises (COVICI), and the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH) welcomed the handing over to their families, on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, of 47 bodies exhumed at the end of the 2010 post-election crisis in Guiglo, Blolequin and Toulepleu, in the west of Côte d'Ivoire

In a joint statement, these civil society organizations welcome "a step forward for the families and communities concerned". However, they question the method and call on authorities to keep their commitments to the victims of the most serious crimes".

For these organizations, the handing over of the bodies of victims of the 2010-2011 crisis to their families is an important step forward, which should be welcomed after years of tension and misunderstanding on this subject within the families and communities affected, to allow families to mourn and bury their loved ones with dignity, in line with the commitment of Prime Minister Patrick Achi, who vowed during the Day of Peace in Duékoué to return all bodies still in the morgue before January 31, 2023.

Nonetheless, LIDHO, COVICI and MIDH "regret the lack of consultation and preparation with the various actors involved on the ground, starting with the families themselves. This symbolic gesture, 12 years after the crisis, would certainly have deserved more awareness to guarantee its scope and within the families concerned and to ensure that all those affected can effectively participate in the ceremonies.

A clear and concerted effort to continue the hand-over of bodies and the various exhumations and identification operations remains their concern, as do the bodies in several mass graves identified but not exhumed, particularly in Duékoué, at the entrance to the city.

During last month's presentation of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize to Angela Merkel, President Alassane Ouattara rightly recalled that "the promotion of peace goes hand in hand with justice. The return of the bodies should not make us forget that none of the victims of Guiglo, Blolequin or Toulepleu, there was justice for the crimes suffered during the crisis following the presidential amnesty granted on August 6, 2018, which had the effect of cancelling all the judicial efforts undertaken until then. Appeals for the annulment of this amnesty contrary to the international commitments of Côte d'Ivoire remains pending before the Council of State," they argue.

According to them, victims also deserve reparations. Therefore, the process of reparations for victims of crimes must resume by beginning a transparent account of the compensation work undertaken since 2015 by the National Commission for the Compensation of Victims (CONARIV), the National Program for Social Cohesion (PNCS) and the various ministries involved.

Published/Updated on 09/03/[email protected]:24 By Claude Djaquis-Bady