Gbagbo’s party interim leader breaks ranks, as civil groups criticize justice system
The interim head of Laurent Gbagbo's party says he is breaking with the political party for refusing to accept change, announcing that he's forming a new party.
At the same time, civil society groups criticize the Ivory Coast judicial system over the treatment of the former Ivorian president, his relatives and allies, who have been held in custody since his capture in April.
Mamadou Koulibaly, speaker of Ivory Coast's national assembly, who became interim head of the Ivorian People's Front (FPI) after the fall of Gbagbo, told reporters in Abidjan Monday that he would serve in a new party to be called "Freedom and Democracy for the Republic" ahead of legislative elections scheduled for late this year.
He was quoted by the French Press Agency (AFP) as saying "Following the catastrophe the country has just gone through, the FPI senior executive still refuses to hold a congress to take stock and rules out any change which it believes could weaken the party."
Koulibaly said the FPI leadership “views any change of direction as a betrayal of jailed and exiled comrades”.
Ex-president Gbagbo was arrested on April 11, four months after a bloody leadership struggle sparked by his refusal to accept defeat in last November's presidential election won by his rival Alassane Ouattara.
The FPI's nominal head, Pascal Affi N'Guessan, is under house arrest in the north of the country along with Gbagbo and his wife Simone as well as 12 of their associates.
Twenty-four officials of the ousted regime have also been jailed in the northern town of Boundiali after being charged with embezzlement and threat to state security.
Meanwhile, civil society organizations in Ivory Coast have expressed concerned over the exact detention conditions of Gbagbo, his relatives and close allies.
They say information they’re receiving about their welfare was not encouraging.
The denounced what they described as the “double-standard” justice system in Ivory Coast, and questioned the motives of the International Criminal Court and the local judicial system.
“We cannot accept double standard justice anymore; this impartial justice we keep seeing at the international as well as national level”, said Dr. Patrick Gouan, Ivory Coast civil society coordinator.
“On the international level, we see that the means used by the International Criminal Court needs to be revised because Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the ICC, has said he has in his possession solid proofs collected from December 2010 up to 2011. But, according to him, those covering 2002 to 2010 are not solid enough… we received this information with lots of bitterness,” stressed Dr Gouan.
According to Dr Gouan, not only Gbagbo ran Ivory Coast in a despicable manner, as he was assisted by both Alassane Ouattara and Henry Konan Bedié following the Marcousis agreement in 2003.
“In our opinion, Gbagbo along with Ouattara and Bediè must all stand trial,” said the Ivory Coast civil society coordinator.