- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2011

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Ivory Coast’s president, in a letter published on the website of the International Criminal Court late Wednesday, formally requested that the ICC investigate crimes committed during the country’s nearly five-month postelection crisis.

President Alassane Ouattara, who will be inaugurated Saturday before a number of international leaders, repeatedly has called for international investigations into postelection crimes in the country, but he formalized the request in a letter to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo dated earlier this month.

Mr. Ouattara said 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,” Mr. Ouattara wrote.

More than 1,000 civilians were killed in the conflict that erupted after both Mr. Ouattara and former President Laurent Gbagbo declared themselves the winner of the election. Initially, security forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo carried out a campaign of terror against perceived Ouattara supporters. Later, rebel forces fighting to install Mr. Ouattara swept across the country in a brief operation that culminated in Mr. Gbagbo’s arrest last month.

Human rights groups allege that both sides are guilty of crimes including kidnapping, rape and summary execution.

Immediately following Mr. Gbagbo’s arrest, Mr. Ouattara assured world leaders, including President Obama, that all those guilty of crimes would be brought to justice, regardless of their loyalties.

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