Africa

Alassane Ouattara: No more Ivorians will go to ICC

French President Francois Hollande (C,R) welcomes Ivory Coast"s president Alassane Ouattara prior to their meeting on February 4, 2016 at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Ivorian president made the statement at a meeting with the French President in Paris

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara says he will not send any more Ivorians to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

This means none of the president's supporters will go to the ICC.

His long-time rival Laurent Gbagbo is on trial for war crimes at the ICC over the civil war sparked by his refusal to accept defeat in the 2010 election.

Both sides were accused of atrocities during the four-month conflict, which left some 3,000 people dead.

Mr Outtara said Ivory Coast now has an operational justice system so future prosecutions will happen in national courts.

He was speaking during a meeting in Paris with his French counterpart Francois Hollande.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch has warned that the ICC gave a "perception of victor's justice" by only prosecuting one side of Ivory Coast's conflict.

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Media captionLaurent Gbagbo was hiding in a bunker when he was captured, as Abdourahmane Dia reports

Mr Gbagbo's trial in The Hague, in the Netherlands, started in January and is likely to last three to four years.

Mr Gbagbo and ex-militia leader Charles Ble Goude deny murder, rape, attempted murder and persecution.

The ICC also accuses pro-Gbagbo militias of attacking members of ethnic groups believed to support Mr Ouattara.

But pro-Ouattara forces were also accused of similar atrocities and these have not been prosecuted in the ICC.

Last year, several former leaders of the pro-Ouattara rebels were indicted in Ivory Coast.

Among them is Cherif Ousmane, who remains a high-ranking officer in the presidential guard.

None of them is currently under arrest, reports the BBC Afrique's Abdourahmane Dia.

The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Mr Gbagbo's wife, Simone, too, but this was dismissed by the Ivorian government.

Instead she was taken to court in Ivory Coast, along with 82 other supporters of her husband - 15 of whom were acquitted.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison in March 2015 for undermining state security.

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