Fifteen ex-ministers who served under Ivory Coast's arrested former strongman have been indicted for crimes against the state, embezzlement and other offenses, state media said Monday.
Fraternite Matin reported that former Prime Minister Gilbert Marie Ake N'Gbo, former Foreign Minister Alcide Djedje, former president of the West African regional central bank Philippe Henri Dacoury-Tabley and the former finance minister were among those formally charged over the weekend. State prosecutors could not be immediately reached to confirm the information.
Dozens of members of Laurent Gbagbo's entourage had been held without charge since the former president was arrested in April following a five-month standoff sparked by his refusal to accept defeat in last year's election. International rights groups criticized the detentions and called on Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara to formally charge those in captivity.
Despite repeated promises by the president to bring to justice all those responsible for crimes, not a single member of Ouattara's forces has been arrested. Last week, local United Nations Human Rights Chief Guillaume Ngefa said that members of Ouattara's Republican Forces army continued to carry out summary executions and arbitrary detentions. Eight people had been killed in the last week, he said.
On Friday, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo formally requested to open investigations into crimes committed by Gbagbo and his wife, who are being held separately in the north of the country.
Ouattara's government will ask that international arrest warrants are issued for other members of Gbagbo's government, believed to have fled the country, the newspaper reported. Many of them, including youth leader Charles Ble Goude and top security adviser Bertin Kadet, are thought to be hiding in Ghana.