International Criminal Court (ICC) - Cote d’Ivoire on Friday deposited its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), making it set to become the Court’s 122nd state party, a statement by ICC said.
The statement made available to PANA in New York on Saturday, said that Cote d’Ivoire’s ratification of the Rome Statute came almost 15 years after it initially signed the treaty on 30 November 1998.
PANA learnt that a number of legal and constitutional hurdles delayed the process. Cote d’Ivoire’s Constitutional Court had initially ruled in October 2003 that the Rome Statute ratification was not in conformity with the Ivorian constitution of 2000.
This implied that the treaty could only be ratified by Côte d’Ivoire if the constitution in force was amended to address the incompatibilities, the ICC noted.
However, due to the advocacy efforts of civil society organizations, the evolving political situation, and the work of supportive members of Parliament, the required amendment and a bill approving the government’s ratification of the Rome Statute were approved by Parliament on 20 December 2012 and subsequently signed into law by President Alassane Ouattara, it said.
Meanwhile, Francis Dako, Africa Regional coordinator for the Coalition for the ICC, in a statement said by ratifying the Rome Statute, the government of Cote d’Ivoire had taken a courageous step towards ending impunity and bringing peace and justice to all Ivoirians.
'I encourage the government to proceed quickly with the ratification of the Court’s Agreement on Privileges and Immunities as well as implement the Rome Statute into domestic law,' he said.
Also, reacting to the ratification, Ali Ouattara, president of the Ivorian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CI-CPI) welcomed this major development, saying 'We are pleased that the Ivoirian government took this major step.'
He said: ”The ratification of the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, is an important instrument for the fight against impunity and demonstrates the will of the Ivorian authorities to make Cote d’Ivoire a state of law where justice is the same for all.'
Ouattara said only justice could provide a lasting peace and a successful reconciliation.
In becoming a state party, Côte d’Ivoire should meet its commitments by cooperating with the ICC for both issued and upcoming mandates, he added.
In April 2003, after the violence resulting from the disputed presidential and legislative elections, Cote d’Ivoire accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC under the provisions of Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute.
A preliminary examination was carried out from 2003 until June 2011, when the prosecutor at that time, Luis Moreno Ocampo requested an investigation into violence in the country, including the violence resulting from the disputed presidential election in 2010.
President Ouattara issued letters of support for the ICC’s investigation and jurisdiction in these matters in both 2010 and 2011.
Two arrest warrants have so far been issued for crimes against humanity for Laurent Gbagbo and his wife, Simone Gbagbo.
The confirmation of former President Gbabgo’s charges is currently set for Monday and he is currently detained in The Hague, while Simone Gbagbo is awaiting domestic charges in Cote d’Ivoire, including genocide.
She is the first woman for whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the ICC and the Court has requested her immediate transfer to The Hague.