The Ivory Coast Constitutional Council, the nation's highest court, on Thursday declared Alassane Ouattara [BBC profile] winner of the country's disputed presidential election, reversing a previous decision. The court originally refused to ratify the results of the November election, sparking months of violence between supporters of Ouattara and incumbent candidate Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile]. Constitutional Council President Paul Yao N'Dre said that Ouattara was invited to take the oath of office [Reuters report] as soon as possible.
Last month, Human Rights Watch urged Ouattara to investigate "atrocities" [JURIST report], including murder and rape, committed by opposing political forces during the recent conflict. Also in April, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said that he is willing to investigate [JURIST report] alleged war crimes in the Ivory Coast. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] reported the deaths of at least 800 civilians [JURIST report] in the Ivory Coast town of Duekoue as a result of intercommunal violence that took place. Gbagbo was arrested on April 11.