Côte dIvoire UNs top human rights chief urgently appeals for protection of

In a statement released in Geneva, Sergio Vieira de Mello cited a number of rights violations committed since mid-September, including summary executions, arbitrary arrests, attacks based on nationality, ethnicity or religious beliefs, ill treatment of children, destruction of private property and population displacement. These crimes, he pointed out, “can be prosecuted either before the national judiciary or the International Criminal Court, whose Statute has been signed by Côte d’Ivoire.” Deploring the absence of a cease-fire agreement, Mr. Vieira de Mello called on the Government and the armed groups to cooperate with the negotiations being carried out by mediators of the Economic Community of West African States and the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “In the view of the High Commissioner, only mediation and starting a dialogue between all the components of Ivorian society in the spirit of tolerance which the country is known for will end the conflict,” the statement said. read more