Ivory Coast's president formally requested that the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate crimes committed during the country's nearly five-month postelection crisis in a letter published on the ICC website late Wednesday.
President Alassane Ouattara, who will be inaugurated on Saturday before a number of international leaders, has repeatedly called for international investigations into postelection crimes in the country, but formalized the request in a letter to ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo dated earlier this month.
Ouattara said that his country's judicial system isn't capable of investigating all the crimes committed since last November's presidential election.
"Ivorian justice is not at this time the best placed to understand the most serious crimes committed during the last months and any attempt to bring the highest authorities to justice could run up against difficulties of many kinds," Ouattara wrote.
More than 1,000 civilians were killed in the conflict that erupted after both Ouattara and former president Laurent Gbagbo declared themselves the winner of last November's election. Initially, security forces loyal to Gbagbo carried out a campaign of terror against perceived Ouattara supporters. Later, rebel forces fighting to install Ouattara swept across the country in a brief operation that culminated in Gbagbo's arrest last month.
Human rights groups allege that both sides are guilty of crimes including kidnapping, rape and summary execution.
Immediately following Gbagbo's arrest, Ouattara assured world leaders, including President Barack Obama that all those guilty of crimes would be brought to justice, regardless of their loyalties.