Ghanaian authorities need to ensure fair and credible justice for an Ivorian militia leader, Charles Ble Goude, arrested on Thursday, January 17, 2013, says Human Rights Watch on Friday.
In a statement made available to GNA, Corinne Dufka, Senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Ble Goude’s arrest was a significant opportunity to continue the process of accountability for victims from one side of the crises.
“Ble Goude arrest shows that Ghanaian authorities are taking steps to ensure the country will not be used as a safe haven from justice”, Dufka said.
He said Ghanaian authorities now needed to accord Ble Goude his full rights, including ensuring that there was no credible risk of inhuman treatment or torture if they extradited him to Cote d’Ivoire.
But Dufka said it was unclear whether Ghana would seek to prosecute Ble Goude domestically or extradite him explaining that before considering extradition proceedings to Cote d’Ivoire, Ghanaian authorities would have to satisfy their responsibilities under the convention against torture.
He said Ghana had to ensure that Ble Goude would not be subject to torture, and or inhuman, cruel, or degrading treatment.
Dufka noted that while the arrest of Ble Goude continued the important steps toward justice for the grave crimes committed by pro-Gbagbo forces, victims on the other side remained without recourse to justice in Cote d’Ivoire or at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He said the one-sided justice for Cote d’Ivoire’s post-election violence needed swift change if the Ouattara Government was to break from Cote d’Ivoire’s dangerous legacy of impunity.
In October 2012, the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant against the former first lady, Simone Gbagbo for crimes against humanity, alleging that she acted as Laurent Gbagbo’s “alter ego” in overseeing atrocities in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Human Rights Watch says she remains in Cote d’Ivoire where she is being tried for genocide, among other crimes, for acts committed during the post-election crises.
The ICC has yet to publicly issue any other arrest warrants for crimes committed in Cote d’Ivoire including against anyone from the Outtara’s camp.