Ivory Coast 'charges ex-rebels for election violence'

Militiamen backing internationally Alassane Ouattara - March 2011 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Both sides were accused of atrocities in the clashes that followed the poll

Ex-rebels who backed Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara are among 20 people charged with war crimes committed during post-election violence in 2010-2011, judicial sources say.

Some of them, including two senior commanders, are now in the military.

Until now, only those who supported the previous government have faced justice, prompting criticism from activists.

More than 3,000 people died after ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept defeat in presidential elections.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Ouattara's administration has been criticised for not prosecuting its own supporters

Both sides were accused of atrocities in the bloody clashes that followed the disputed polls.

Mr Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity, which he denies.

Earlier this year, his wife Simone Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years in jail in Ivory Coast for her role in the violence.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) told BBC Afrique that it welcomed news of the indictments, which would help to "re-balance" legal proceedings related to the post-election violence.

"All of them have been charged in proceedings concerning the most serious crimes committed during the crisis," a judicial source told the AFP news agency, confirming an earlier report about the charges.

Presidential elections are due to be held in October, with Mr Ouattara considered a clear favourite.

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