(Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on John Campbell’s CFR blog, Africa in Transition. Click here to read the original post.)
As of mid-day on April 6, Laurent Gbagbo, the French government, and Allasane Outtarra are still maneuvering around the terms of Gbagbo’s departure.
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is seeking support from at least one of the members of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) to refer alleged human rights abuses in Cote d’Ivoire to the ICC at The Hague. Ocampo mentions “alleged mass killings in the Western part of the country”—clearly a reference to the hundreds found dead in the Ivorian town of Duékoué. While both sides share responsibility for killings in Cote d’Ivoire, in the western media at least, Gbagbo’s Young Patriots (irregulars loyal only to himself) appear most culpable.
The potential for new ICC involvement in Cote d’Ivoire may complicate negotiations for Gbagbo’s departure and make the latter more intransigent. Gbagbo’s allies and supporters are likely to argue that the ICC does not respect Ivorian sovereignty. There are over 20 cases at The Hague related to crimes committed in Africa—and none anywhere else. Some African leaders on this basis allege that the ICC’s prosecutors are biased against Africa.