The Hague, November 23, 2011 (FH) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) could hand over to the judges the first results of his investigation in Cote d'Ivoire "before December 11 elections", lawyer of Cote d'Ivoire's new regime Jean-Paul Benoit told Hirondelle News Agency on Tuesday.

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He added that former President Laurent Gbagbo, his wife Simone and the then leader of the Young Patriots militia, Charles Blè Goudé, might be among Luis Moreno Ocampo's targets.

 The Office of the Prosecutor refused to comment this declaration.

On October 3, judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized Moreno Ocampo to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Côte d'Ivoire since the second round of presidential elections in November 2010. They ruled  that there was evidence that both sides in the conflict committed war crimes and crimes against humanity .

The UN estimates that more than 3,000 people were killed in violence that broke out after Laurent Gabgbo refused to accept the victory of the internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara.  Gbagbo was arrested on April 11, 2011, by Ouattara forces assisted by the French. He is currently being detained in Korhogo, northern Côte d'Ivoire.

"We'll focus the investigation on the most odious crimes and the most responsible (...) to prevent violence and ensure Cote d'Ivoire to move ahead," Moreno Ocampo declared when he started his investigation in October.

According to Laurent Gbagbo's lawyer Emmanuel Altit, "President Gbagbo's arrest was illegal and his detention is arbitrary". He also claimed that "choosing as a starting point for the investigation the date of November 28, 2010" was a political decision, as the "Ivorian crisis could only be understood by going back to 2002 events".

Following this statement, judges asked the Prosecutor to give more information about "serious crimes that have been committed in Cote d'Ivoire between 19 September 2002 and the period prior to the elections in 2010 by both pro-government and pro-rebel forces".

While Côte d'Ivoire is not a member of the ICC, it first accepted the Court's jurisdiction in 2003. More recently, President Ouattara "reconfirmed the country's acceptance of this jurisdiction" and asked the ICC for assistance in ensuring that "the perpetrators would not go unpunished".


© Hirondelle News Agency