Côte d'Ivoire / Certification of elections by UNOCI chief to be carried out after Constitutional Council examines disputes

By Mission of UN in Côte d'Ivoire

ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, December 15, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The certification of the legislative elections will be carried out by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire after the electoral disputes have been examined by the Constitutional Council, the Spokesman for the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Hamadoun Touré, explained on Thursday.

In this regard, Bert Koenders, initiated contacts with the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Youssouf Bakayoko and the Chairman of the Constitutional Council, Francis Wodié, to discuss their respective responsibilities in connection with the election results, said Mr. Touré during the Mission's weekly press conference.

Mr. Koenders also went to the IEC's headquarters to look at the work being done there and encourage members of the institution in charge of the organisation of the elections, to continue the announcements of the election results, so that the Constitutional Council can proceed with examining the electoral disputes, he added. “UNOCI's certification will come after this exercise,” said the Spokesman.

While waiting, Mr. Touré continued, UNOCI is closely studying the conduct of the elections, including the various incidents that took place in some places.

“The Mission would like to see the nature, importance and impact of these incidents on the electoral operation and the results,” he said. In this regard, the Spokesman indicated that the Mission had received copies of all the tally sheets, adding that the Special Representative had installed a working group to tabulate the results. “UNOCI would like to ask all those disputing the results to send a copy of their documents, so that they can be taken into consideration during the certification process, which will come after the Constitutional Council,” he said.

Turning to the activities of the UN Force in the legislative elections, the Spokesman said that UNOCI peacekeepers had provided security for the transporting of the tally sheets to local electoral commissions on the evening of 11 December. “Everything went well on the day,” Mr. Touré

In this connection, he announced that the dismantling of the security arrangements put in place for the elections will start in the next few days with the repatriation of the Ivorian security forces who had been redeployed to this effect, to their respective bases. He said that this task would be carried out by UNOCI military contingents.

With regard to operational activities, Mr. Touré said that the UN Force had carried out 1,301 ground and air patrols during the past week. “It continues to intensify mixed patrols with the FRCI in the west, especially along the border with Liberia, which helps to improve the security situation in the country,” added the Spokesman.

On human rights issues, Mr. Touré highlighted rapes cases involving minors between the age of 4 and 13 in Duekoué and Odienné. In Odienné, said the Spokesman, the perpetrator was clearly identified, although he has still not been arrested. “UNOCI condemns such impunity and all forms of sexual violence,” he stressed.

The Spokesman also announced that in order to better contribute to the protection of civilians and monitoring human rights violations during the electoral period, UNOCI had reactivated its hotline since 8 December 2011 (06-20-80-60 or 20-23-80-60) to give victims and witnesses the opportunity to report any incidents.

As part of its support to promote social cohesion and reconciliation, UNOCI's Civil Affairs Section, in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), will participate in the closing activities of an inter-community dialogue project initiated between cattle breeders and farmers in Mahou Sokouralla, in Touba sous-préfecture in the north, on 21 and 22 December 2011.

The project, according to Mr. Touré, was set up following recurring tension and violent disputes between the two communities to promote social cohesion in the Bafing region.

The Spokesman also said that UNOCI had resumed its sensitization activities throughout Côte d'Ivoire after the legislative polls, by organising regional seminars aimed at elected officials and senior civil servants on 20 and 21 December in the Lacs and Savanes regions. In Bouaké, traditional chiefs, members of women's organisations and youth groups from the Vallée du Bandama region, will attend a sensitisation workshop on the same dates.

To celebrate the festive season, Mr. Touré announced that a Christmas party was being organised for children in several towns throughout the country. “At the end of each year, UNOCI staff offer Christmas presents to children in their respective localities, and by extension all the children in Côte d'Ivoire who represent the future and should grow up in a reconciled country, » he concluded.