Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Thursday 24 May 2007

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Highlights

- Militiamen say money reportedly offered by their chief is too little

- Delegation wraps up visit to DDR sites in Sector East

- Villagers in Zokoguhe arrest man carrying a gun in former ZOC

- UNOCI provides security for US Embassy official's visit to Sector East

- UNOCI meets diplomats over attacks on premises of Rights NGOs in Abidjan

DDR

Officials from the Integrated Command Centre (ICC), PNDDR, the National Technical and development Office (BNETD) and UNOCI yesterday ended their visit of all the DDR sites that will be used for the beginning of disarmament in the next few weeks. Seventeen sites will be used, of which 11 are ready for use, and six will be quickly renovated by UNOCI. Yesterday the delegation visited three sites in Korhogo and on 22 May 2007, it went to Ouangolodougou and Ferkéssedougou where new sites would be renovated by UNOCI. All of the sites in Korhogo are almost ready to receive soldiers but need some minor work or material. The delegation will visit DDR sites in other parts of the country in the following weeks in preparation for the disarmament process.

Military

UNOCI Deputy Force Commander, General Mouhamadou Kandji, is visiting Sector West. General Kandji arrived in Daloa, yesterday evening. He had earlier toured Odienné and Séguéla. This morning, he held a briefing with military and civilian personnel in Sector West HQ.

Security

BANBATT reported that villagers from Zokouguhe, a village near its Bonoufla Camp, in the former Zone of Confidence, yesterday apprehended a 22 year old man for possessing a gun. The apprehended person was handed over to UNPOL Bonoufla for further investigation.

Human Rights

On 23 May, following an attack on 21 May 2007 against the offices of the two leading human rights organizations in Abidjan, which the Student Union, FESCI, has been accused of perpetrating, UNOCI convened a meeting of some members of the diplomatic community (South Africa, USA, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Germany, the European Union and Commission, and the African Union), and the heads of the two organizations. After

hearing the testimonies of representatives of the two organizations, the meeting which was chaired by the Chief of the Human Rights Division on behalf of the Acting head of the Mission, made the following recommendations: UNOCI to issue a press communiqué about the meeting; all diplomatic representations present at the meeting to raise the issue bilaterally with the Ivorian authorities and to urge them to prosecute the perpetrators of the attacks; and the two human rights organizations are to press criminal charges against FESCI leaders.

On 22 May 2007, at an audience in the Presidential Palace, the Prosecutor of the Abidjan District Court and the Military Prosecutor briefed President Laurent Gbagbo on developments relating to criminal proceedings against persons involved in the dumping of the toxic waste in Abidjan last August and on the implementation of the recent Amnesty Ordinance of 12 April 2007.

On 23 May 2007, the Military Prosecutor confirmed to the Human Rights Division that his office had established a list of persons eligible for this special amnesty that will cover crimes against national security committed during the various attacks against military targets that took place in Gohitafla (7 and 8 June 2004), Anyama and Agboville (23 - 24 July 2005) and Akouedo (1 and 2 January 2006) as well as other crimes against the state. The amnesty will be extended to persons already convicted and sentenced, cases pending before the courts as well as those still under investigation. The Civil Prosecutor indicated to the Human Rights Division that despite the agreement reached with regard to civil liability for the dumping of toxic waste between the Government of Cote d'Ivoire and the foreign Company Trafigura, his office will proceed with criminal prosecution of persons implicated in the scandal of August 2006. Comments: On behalf of Ivorian victims, SHERPA, a French-based organization, has filed a criminal lawsuit against a representative of Trafigura in Paris for corruption. A civil lawsuit has also been lodged by the law firm Leigh and Co in London on behalf of victims.

17 students detained at the PCO for having conducted a protest were released on the evening of 21 May 2007. The five, four of whom had injuries on their back, chest and stomach, were given medical care at UNOCI medical facilities in Bouaké on 22 May 2007. The students informed the Regional Human Rights Office in Bouaké that the criminal proceedings against them had been suspended.