Ivory Coast to Compensate Thousands of Victims


In 2014, the government of Ivory Coast released a list comprised of 30,000 people whom it considers entitled to compensation due to the political crises dating back to 1990.[1] About 800,000 applications were submitted in total, with the majority being rejected by virtue of double listings, incomplete applications, as well as cases of fraud. The claims were put into 4 categories, namely: gender-based violence, serious injury, murder, forced disappearance and damage to property; 84% falling in the fourth category. 300,000 names were submitted to the president for approval. Some 74,000 registered victims are eligible for compensation to be paid out of a fund worth 10 billion CFA francs. [3] A partial list of 25,000 victims of the 2010-2011 post-election conflict was released and payments of about 260 dollars made for the injured, as well as coverage of medical fees and as much as 1,700 dollars per family paid to the relatives of those that were killed. [2]

Compensation is to be done by the National Commission for Victims’ Reconciliation and Compensation (CONARIV) which replaced the Commission for Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation (CDVR) in March 2015.[4] The CDVR’s president, former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, in December 2014 presented the Commission’s report to President Outtara who upon its receipt committed to making 10 billion available for indemnification of victims.[5]

The CDVR had created a file with 74,000 names that formed the basis of the work done by its successor. In its 3 year mandate, it had to find the root causes of the conflicts in the country and give a voice to the victims and perpetrators so as to make recommendations that would bring about reconciliation – the establishment of CONARIV being one of them.[6]

CONARIV’s main missions are to identify and make an inventory of the remaining victims entitled to reparations and compensate them based on a single, consolidated database.

Compensation is a type of reparation, which is one of the steps necessary in bringing about reconciliation.

The compensation programme is to be implemented through the agency’s executive organ: the National Social Cohesion Programme (PNCS). [7]

For a long time the country has been riddled with conflict, mainly due to issues of ethnicity, with other issues being religion and regions.[8] The conflicts have been triggered and fuelled by leaders that have either been deemed to have won elections unfairly, or, have won fairly, but once in office have amassed power for their own tribes while marginalizing others who ultimately have resorted to picking up arms as a form of advocacy.[9]

In their 2010 elections, former president Laurent Gbagbo ran against current president Alassane Outtara. The Independent Electoral Commission released provisional election results declaring Outtarra winner. The Constitutional Council, however, immediately invalidated the results and announced to be the Gbagbo winner instead. He was sworn in as president on the 4th of December, following which clashes erupted with supporters of both sides fighting each other. Though the international community recognized Outtara as president, his opponent refused to relinquish the presidency and the fighting continued untill 2011 when Gbagbo’s forces were defeated by Outtara, aided by French and UN troops.[10] The post-election crisis led to the death of over 3000 residents. [11]

Though the efforts to make reparations are welcome and are a positive step in trying to bring back peace to the country, underlying issues that initially triggered the war must be tackled so as to avoid a recreating history.

 

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[1] Emily Lob, Voice of America, ‘Ivory Coast to Compensate Thousands of Conflict Victims’, Thursday 21st April, 2016, www.africaleader.com

[2] Insight on Conflict, Ivory Coast:  Conflict Profile, published by Insight on Conflict, www.insightonconflict.org

[3] ‘Ivory Coast to compensate civil conflict victims’, 6th May 2015, www.bbc.co.uk

[4] Daouda Coulibaly, ‘Reparations for the Victims of the Post – Election Violence in Ivory Coast’, Tuesday, July 2015, justicehub.org

[5] Human Rights Watch, “To Consolidate This Peace of Ours”, December 8th 2015.

[6] N 4

[7] Christin Roby, ‘Will new reparations body in Ivory Coast fulfil promise?’, May 4th 2015, www.justicetribune.com

[8]  N 2

[9] Ibid.

[10] N 4

[11] N 7

Hawa Gaya

Hawa Gaya

Lawyer, lover of the environment and a beliver in peaceful dispute settlement
Hawa Gaya

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