Spindelegger: Gbagbo's extradition is an important step towards reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire / Austria's Foreign Minister underlines the importance of the cooperation by all states with the International Criminal Court

By Austria - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

VIENNA, Austria, December 1, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- “The extradition of Laurent Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court in The Hague is an important step for justice, reconciliation and the foundation for peaceful coexistence in the future. Bringing all atrocities to justice is essential both for the victims and for society as a whole”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said, welcoming the extradition of the former President of Côte d'Ivoire.

The extradition of Gbagbo to The Hague is an important signal at an international level. “The extradition of Gbagbo strengthens the authority of the International Criminal Court. This is an independent court of justice and the guarantee for the highest rule-of-law standards and a fair trial”, Spindelegger said, underpinning the importance attached to the cooperation of all states with the International Criminal Court. “Escaping justice can no longer be permitted in the 21st century”, Spindelegger added and drew attention to the fact that all states have the obligation to protect the civil population, especially in the event of a conflict. “Austria made the protection of civilians a focus of its work during its membership of the UN Security Council”, the Vice Chancellor said in conclusion.

According to the UN, about 3000 people were killed during the recent conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, which was caused by Gbagbo's refusal to recognise the election victory of President Alassane Ouattara. Over one million people were displaced internally in the country, or fled across the borders into neighbouring states.