Guide A Long Way from Reconciliation

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English Analysis on Côte d'Ivoire about Protection and Human Rights; published on 19 Nov by HRW.
Table of contents

Human Rights Watch also spoke with drivers of commercial and passenger transport vehicles, family members of people still in detention, leaders from Ivorian civil society, government officials, representatives of humanitarian organizations, representatives of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, and diplomats in Abidjan. The seemingly coordinated and well-organized attacks on the military installations between August and October came on the heels of earlier assaults along the Liberian-Ivorian border.

In a particularly high-profile raid on August 6, attackers killed at least six military personnel and stole a substantial cache of weapons from one of the most important military bases in the country. Since April, at least 50 people, including many civilians, have been killed during these attacks, which the Ivorian government has credibly blamed on pro-Gbagbo militants intent on destabilizing the country.

Ivorian authorities have the right and the responsibility to respond to security threats in accordance with Ivorian and international law, including by arresting and prosecuting suspects, Human Rights Watch said. Unlike the police and gendarmerie, the military has no legal basis for overseeing arrests, interrogations, and detentions — particularly of civilians. The authority given to the Republican Forces is of particular concern in light of the atrocities in which certain soldiers and commanders were implicated during the post-election crisis and the lack of accountability for these crimes in the period since the Ouattara government took power, Human Rights Watch said.

Reflecting on Rwanda

In August, members of the Republican Forces carried out mass arbitrary arrests of perceived Gbagbo supporters almost daily in the Abidjan neighborhood of Yopougon. Without arrest warrants or individualized evidence, soldiers arbitrarily arrested young men in their homes, at neighborhood restaurants, at bars, in taxis and buses, as they walked home from church, and at traditional community celebrations.

Soldiers often arrived in neighborhoods in military cargo trucks and forced 20 or more perceived pro-Gbagbo youth to board. Hundreds of young men appear to have been rounded up and detained, largely on the basis of their ethnicity and place of residence. Those arrested were often brought to military camps, which are not lawful detention sites for civilians under Ivorian law.

Myanmar's Long Road to National Reconciliation - كتب Google

They said military personnel subjected them to beatings, flogging, and other extreme forms of physical mistreatment, generally during questioning related to the location of guns or alleged suspects, or to extract a confession. Several had scars allegedly from the physical abuse. They also said that other detainees had come back to their cells with bruised faces, severe swelling, and open wounds.

Get Back With Your Ex (Reconciliation) Spell

The detention conditions described were grossly inadequate, including severe overcrowding, near complete denial of food and water, and humiliating practices like being placed in a room with excrement all over the floor as punishment. Each day they pulled me out and took me to another room for questioning…. The metal [ring] of the belt was on the end they hit you with, [I think] to inflict the most pain…. Although it did not reach the level of torture, Human Rights Watch likewise documented cruel and inhuman treatment at the BAE and Dabou military camps, including frequent beatings.

According to victims and witnesses, soldiers from these two camps also turned their security role into a lucrative scheme. During neighborhood sweeps and mass arrests, they stole cash and valuables such as cell phones, computers, and jewelry.

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Several former detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were not even asked for their names, much less questioned. They were simply held for days in miserable conditions and then forced to pay the soldiers for their freedom. I have nothing left now, all my money was taken or [used to pay for my release]….

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In an October report on the post-election violence, Human Rights Watch named Coulibaly as one of the Republican Forces commanders under whose command soldiers committed acts of torture and dozens of summary executions during the final battle for Abidjan in April and May Forces under his command have previously been implicated in serious crimes by other international organizations and the US State Department. The Gacaca Community Courts, based on a pre-colonial Rwandan approach to justice, were asked to establish what happened to the Tutsi during the genocide.

Their job was to expedite the cases of those accused of genocide-related crimes.

The Globe and Mail

Both processes were meant to contribute to interpersonal and national reconciliation. Reconciliation goes hand in hand with many other factors and generates many difficult questions. Who needs to be reconciled with whom? Who should initiate the process? Who should facilitate it? What should it look like? How do national and interpersonal movements towards reconciliation intersect, if at all? But early on, concern was expressed that the country was trading justice for truth.

In response to those criticisms the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, an organisation that grew out of the work of the TRC, began focusing on equity and fairness as a central component to reconciliation. You only have to pay attention to current affairs to see the truth in this finding. The Economic Freedom Fighters - an opposition political party - are calling for land and resources to be redistributed. Students have also protested about equal access to education.

Social justice and equity must remain front and centre of the reconciliation agenda. The TRC was very important. But very little follow up work was done by the government.

Daily Oil Bulletin

And the policies it pursued left many South Africans feeling cheated. Rwanda took a different path. Many were unsettled by this rigorous quest. There were calls for Rwanda to mimic South Africa and take the route of amnesty in exchange for truth.

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That would have assumed the wounds of the violent massacre of possibly a million people in three months were identical to the wounds of apartheid. In Rwanda, once the genocide ended, the entire country had been stripped of all of its resources. Dead bodies littered the streets. Perpetrators and survivors had to start rebuilding their lives side-by-side.

The compulsion for revenge was strong, and there was an urgent need to deal as quickly as possible with the relationships between individual perpetrators and survivors within their communities.