Human Rights Council – 17th Session
Interactive Dialogue with the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire
Statement by Australia
15 June 2011
The Australian Government commends the active involvement of the United Nations in supporting the humanitarian response and investigations of human rights violations in Côte d’Ivoire. We commend the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for its leadership in and coordination of the humanitarian response, and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) for its role in protecting civilians during the conflict.
The Australian Government welcomes the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire’s investigation of serious human rights violations and abuses during the conflict and thanks the Commission for its report and recommendations. We encourage the international community to support the efforts of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the UN in implementing these recommendations.
We note with grave concern the findings of the Commission that serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law were committed during the conflict, including some that could constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. We are deeply concerned by the 3,000 deaths the Commission estimates to have resulted from human rights abuses and strongly affirm that those responsible must be brought to justice, and that such atrocities must be prevented in the future.
To this end, the Australian Government strongly endorses the Commission’s recommendation that an evaluation of the work of UNOCI and humanitarian agencies throughout the conflict be made in order to improve capacity to prevent such conflicts and to protect civilians.
The Commission notes the importance of overcoming impunity and administering justice in Côte d’Ivoire as vital to stability, reconciliation and peace. In this regard, the Australian Government welcomes Côte d’Ivoire’s acceptance of the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s jurisdiction and the Prosecutor’s announcement of his intention to seek authorisation to open an investigation based on his conclusion that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC have been committed.
The Australian Government commends the decision of the President of Côte d’Ivoire, HE Alassane Ouattara, to establish a Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Dialogue. We believe firmly in the importance of promoting peace and national unity and encourage all parties to make every effort in this regard.
We continue to support the engagement of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States with Côte d’Ivoire as vital to regional stability and welcome their commitment to promoting the democratic process in Côte d’Ivoire and Africa more broadly.