Ivory Coast : Little judicial progress made on the case of the attack of Nahibly camp
PARIS, France, March 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH have published a position paper entitled “Côte d'Ivoire / Attaque du camp de Nahibly : une occasion de rendre justice” (in French), highlighting events and crimes committed before, during and after the 20 July 2012 attack on Nahibly camp for internally displaced persons, in the outskirt of Duékoué. This publication follows the deployment of a judicial mission to Ivory Coast, which sought to assist victims of the Nahibly camp attack and their families. These persons are currently being represented by FIDH's Legal Action Group (LAG), composed (on Ivory Coast matters) of lawyers from FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH.
FIDH and its member organisations in Ivory Coast, Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH) and Ivorian League of Human Rights (LIDHO), welcome the progress achieved by the Ivorian judiciary over the last two weeks in regard to the July 2012 attack of the displaced person's camp in Nahibly. However, we call upon judicial authorities to immediately proceed with the disinterment of the bodies buried in mass graves and to make every effort towards prosecuting authors of these crimes perpetrated following the destruction of the Nahibly camp.
On 21 March 2013, the investigating judge in charge of the judicial proceedings over the attack of Nahibly camp and the Togueï mass grave, conducted a site visit to identify mass graves in Duekoue. This investigative work was a result of information provided to the judiciary from our organisations, which represent the families of victims. According to information provided, the bodies belong to persons who were arrested during the attack of Nahibly camp on 20 July 2012 and were subsequently summarily executed by members of the Republican Forces of Ivory Coast (FRCI) and other persons from Duékoué.
“Ivorian authorities have taken an important step in the fight against impunity, but must go even further by proceeding with the exhumation of the bodies of the victims, and by instituting actions against the alleged perpetrators of these crimes”, said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.
According to Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and Head of its Legal Action Group : “Ivorian official authorities and ONUCI, which has been requested to provide technical assistance, are ready to proceed with these exhumations. The establishment of facts is the prerequisite to determine the identity of those responsible, thus we shall begin with digging these bodies up and look for factual evidence. The key is now in the hands of the investigating judge”.
It is now a matter of proceeding to the second unearthing of corpses related to the attack of the Nahibly camp, which may involve up to 12 sites, with at least 13 mass graves. On 12 October 2012, our organisations contributed to the finding of Togueï mass grave. Six bodies were found in a well in this off-centred area of Duékoué.
Watch the report by Maureen Grisot for France 24 on the discovery of Togueï mass grave in Duékoué and interview of Florent Geel, Head of FIDH Africa Desk (in French).
FIDH, LIDHO and MIDH's report "Côte d'Ivoire / Attaque du camp de Nahibly : une occasion de rendre justice" (in French) emphasises the circumstances surrounding these crimes, which happened on 20 July 2012 before, during and after the attack of Nahibly camp for internally displaced persons.
“This affair, highly symbolic, is an opportunity to make some progress on the fight against impunity in Ivory Coast and make armed people – especially State officials – understand that all serious violations of human rights shall be punished” said René Hokou Legré, LIDHO President. “For this message to be completely understood, these judicial proceedings need to be completed and these crimes to be tried.” said Ms. Drissa Traoré, MIDH President.