ICC to investigate Ivory Coast post-election violence

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Supporters of Alassane Ouattara burn tires during a protest in the Koumassi district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast (16 December 2010)
Image caption,
About 3,000 people were killed in violence following elections in 2010

International Criminal Court judges have given the ICC's prosecutor the go-ahead to open an investigation into post-election violence in Ivory Coast.

About 3,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced in the unrest after the November 2010 poll.

Alassane Ouattara took power in April after a four-month stand-off with his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to accept defeat.

Forces loyal to both men have been accused of committing atrocities.

The judges also requested that the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, report back within one month on any additional information on crimes committed between 2002 and 2010.

November's vote was intended to fully reunify the country, split in two after a civil war in 2002.

Ivory Coast - the world's largest cocoa producer - used to be seen as a haven of peace and prosperity in West Africa.

But under the surface, the country has long been deeply divided along ethnic, religious and economic lines.

Mr Gbagbo is under house arrest and has been charged with looting, armed robbery, and embezzlement.

He refused to accept defeat in the presidential poll, despite the UN declaring Mr Ouattara - his long-time foe - the winner.

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