Ouattara urges Ghana to arrest Ivorian suspects

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2011 4:59 PM
Ouattara urges Ghana to arrest Ivorian suspects

ACCRA (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara Thursday urged Ghana to arrest and hand over Ivorians indicted for war crimes and other abuses during four months of post-election conflict in Ivory Coast.

Ouattara, on a one-day visit to neighboring Ghana, said his government was committed to restoring the rule of law by ensuring justice for all.

"There are groups of persons who have come to Ghana ... after committing humanitarian and war crimes, so we have issued warrants according to the rules of Ecowas (the West African regional body) and we are urging that they should be handed over," he told journalists before boarding the flight home.

Ouattara met Ghanaian President John Atta Mills. A statement read by Ghana's Foreign Minister Mohammad Mumuni said the two countries had agreed that former Ivorian combatants who had sought refuge in Ghana should be repatriated to a third country.

Ghana is hosting several thousand Ivorian refugees who fled the conflict and also some aides and supporters of former Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo.

A 2010 election in the world's top cocoa grower aimed to draw a line under a 2002-2003 civil war that split the country turned violent after Gbagbo refused to accept defeat under UN-certified results.

Gbagbo was ousted following his capture in April after a struggle in the commercial capital Abidjan against troops backing Ouattara with the support of French and U.N. forces.

The conflict killed more than 3,000 people and displaced over a million. The U.N. and rights groups have said both sides committed atrocities.

The new Ivorian government has said it was concerned Gbagbo's supporters who fled to Ghana could use it as a base to destabilize the administration, accusations Ghana has rejected.

Ouattara said allegations against those who back him were also being investigated and those found to have been involved in any crime will face justice.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Writing by Bate Felix)