The International Criminal Court (ICC), Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced today the opening of an investigation into post-election violence in Ivory Coast. The ICC, located in The Hague, The Netherlands, has authority to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide occurring in nations that have signed on to the treaty creating the court, or if referred by the Security Council of the United Nations, or when, as in Ivory Coast, the country has accepted jurisdiction, even though they are not a member state.
The notice states, in part:
By this notice, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court informs victims of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Côte d’Ivoire by any party following the presidential election of 28 November 2010 that he will shortly request authorization from the Pre-Trial Chamber II to open an investigation into such alleged crimes.
The Prosecutor notifies victims of the post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire that they can send their comments to the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber II on whether an investigation on such alleged crimes should be opened. The victims or their legal representatives have 30 days from this notice to make representations to the Pre-Trial Chamber.
Victims who wish to make observations and are seeking to do so are encouraged to contact the Reparations Center for assistance. The Reparations Center and attorney John L. Fossum are interested in providing assistance to those seeking to participate, share their information or seek reparations. There is no fee for this service.
Victims have an opportunity at the ICC to participate in ongoing cases by making arguments, presenting evidence, and ultimately seek reparations if there is a conviction. Reparations and the process are funded by the 114 nations that have ratified the Treaty of Rome, now known as the Rome Statute, the founding document of the International Criminal Court.