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ICC expands investigation of war crimes in Ivory Coast

International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Wednesday was granted permission [decision, PDF; press release] by a pretrial chamber to expand his investigation of war crimes in the Ivory Coast to incidents dating back to 2002. Ocampo began his investigation [JURIST report] in October, focusing on alleged post-election violence [JURIST news archive] beginning in 2010. Ocampo requested to expand his investigation in light of evidence that government and rebel forces committed war crimes during an attempted coup in 2002. In its decision, the chamber concluded that there was a reasonable basis for the allegations:

The Chamber has referred to events identified by the Prosecutor that are examples of crimes which appear to have been committed against civilians by pro-government and rebel forces in [Ivory Coast], following the 2002 attempted coup. The Chamber has analysed a chronological sample of these incidents, and it has decided whether they potentially amount to a crime or crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.
The court determined the post-election violence of 2010 was a part of ongoing unrest from the 2002 rebellion.

In December, former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] appeared before the Pre-Trial Chamber III of the ICC [JURIST report] for an initial hearing. During the hearing the court verified Gbagbo's identity and ensured that he was informed of the four charges against him, including murder, persecution, inhumane acts, and rape and other forms of sexual violence allegedly committed during last year's post-election violence in the Ivory Coast. Gbagbo was taken into custody [JURIST report] in November for his upcoming appearance before the court. In October, Moreno-Ocampo traveled to the Ivory Coast [JURIST report] to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during post-election violence following the November 2010 elections.

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