Blood On The Hands Of Gbagbo And Quattara

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[Black Star News Editorial]

There are now no clean hands in the Ivory Coast's conflict with reports that Alassane Ouattara's fighters may have massacred as many as 300 civilians as they fight to take control of Abidjan, the commercial capital, from troops loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step down. Some estimates by human rights organizations place the death toll at 1,000.

Gbagbo insists he is the winner of the presidential run off election in November. The United Nations, the African Union, Ecowas --the West African regional body-- the U.S. and other leading industrial countries believe otherwise and have recognized Quattara.

Yet does that mean that the commanders and fighters in Quattara's army will go free after Gbagbo is driven from office if indeed, as widely reported, they committed war crimes too as have Gbagbo's forces?

If Gbagbo is subsequently prosecuted for crimes committed by his armed followers since November, does this mean that Quattara will also have to face the law? Will Quattara be protected by presidential immunity?

At the end of the day the most important people in the Ivory Coast are the millions of innocent civilians, not Gbagbo or Quattara. The United Nations must make it clear that all armed combatants who kill unarmed innocent civilians, and their commanders in chief --Gbagbo and Quattara since both claim they are presidents-- could be liable for prosecution.

Neither Gbagbo or Quattara are indispensable.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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