I Coast launches probe into poll conflict crime

Abidjan: Ivory Coast has announced that it was setting up a national commission to investigate the crimes committed during the bloody post-election crisis that wracked the country.

The government led by President Alassane Ouattara made the decision at a cabinet meeting, said a statement yesterday from spokesman Bruno Nabagne Kone.

The "national commission of inquiry is to shed light on all the human rights violations committed during the post-electoral crisis," said the statement.

Ouattara was sworn in late last month after a protracted and violent political crisis sparked by his rival Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat following the country's November election.

He had already promised that no crimes committed during the conflict would go unpunished, no matter who committed them, and asked The Hague-based International Criminal Court to investigate the most serious violations.

But yesterday's announcement comes on the heels of allegations from Human Rights Watch yesterday that the Abidjan authorities were only investigating abuses committed by Gbagbo's fighters.

UN investigators said on Friday that they had found evidence of possible crimes against humanity by forces from both sides.

Human Rights Watch said no one from Ouattara's camp had yet been arrested for abuses in the post-poll conflict.