Ivory Coast: Perpetrators of Abidjan Market Shelling Must Be Brought to Justice


NEW YORK, Mar. 18, 2011—“Those responsible for the shelling of a market in Abidjan must be identified and held accountable,” said ICTJ president David Tolbert referring to yesterday’s attack on a food market in Abobo, a suburb of the Ivory Coast’s capital, in which 100 people were killed or wounded.

“Such cowardly and heinous acts must not be allowed to go unpunished,” stated Tolbert. “The international community must show resolve in bringing perpetrators of this and other crimes against civilians in Ivory Coast to justice swiftly and resolutely,” he added.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is already conducting a preliminary investigation into the violence that followed former president Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to step down after November’s election results indicated a victory for his rival Alassane Ouattara. The UN Mission in Ivory Coast (MINUCI) has blamed Gbagbo loyalists for much of the violence, which has killed over 400 people since December 2010.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) strongly condemned the attack, indicating through a spokesman that it is “difficult to avoid the conclusion that this may be an international crime, possibly a crime against humanity.”

Tolbert compared yesterday’s shelling of Abobo market to deadly attacks on Markale market in Sarajevo, committed during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “It is important to remember that senior Bosnian Serb military and political leaders were held responsible by the ICTY for these atrocious attacks. We expect that the same determination is shown in bringing to justice those who carried out and ordered the shelling of Abobo market,” he said.

About ICTJ

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) works to redress and prevent the most severe violations of human rights by confronting legacies of mass abuse. ICTJ seeks holistic solutions to promote accountability and create just and peaceful societies. For more information, visit www.ictj.org.


Lisa Jamhoury Communications Associate Tel +1 917 637 3846 Cell +1 917 232 6704 ljamhoury@ictj.org