We are in November 2011. A recent event in Ivory Coast triggers memories from our ancient and sad past. Back several centuries in African history, black kings sold their brothers and sisters to Arab and European conquerors and particularly slave traders. In exchange, they expected and received futile gains which didn’t even last long enough to sustain their own ephemeral rule.
In fact, it was a matter of time for them to realize that betraying their race could only enable them to buy sometime. When their turn came, they were wiped out by the new foreign masters. The latter were interested in the wealth of the land of people to be conquered.
Laurent Gbagbo, the fallen president of Ivory Coast, has been handed to International Criminal Court (ICC). Alassane Ouattara, the new president of the West African country, like the mentioned black kings of the past, has exchanged his defeated rival to reward his sponsors (France, UN, and all those that ICC represents) who got him into power.
Many voices consider the action ill-judged from the new administration of Ivory Coast, whatever pressure they have been put on or their own selfish bitter revenge. Duke Tagoe thinks that, ‘Ivorian Presidential claimant Ouattara has made a fatal error in surrendering former President Laurent Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC).’
He adds that, ‘first, this move will undermine the effort of his government to achieve any measure of national reconciliation and create favorable conditions for redressing the havoc of war.
The move also throws up serious questions about the legitimacy of his administration and the fairness of the processes at the International Criminal Court.
Reports of all credible human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Africa Watch said very clearly that both sides in the Ivorian war were guilty of war crimes.
Indeed, the reports said that the rebel army which brought Ouattara to power had committed more atrocities than the Ivorian National Army.
In one day, the rebels murdered more than 300 innocent civilians and there were credible reports that they had committed torture, rape and robbery. The question then is how come that only Laurent Gbagbo was handed over to the International Criminal Court?
What will happen to Ouattara and his New Forces and other rebels?
The refusal of Ouattara to try Gbagbo in Ivory Coast even if the allegations against him are true also feeds the notion that African countries are not capable of administering justice. This is a bad precedent.
This is most certainly a wrong move by Ouattara and his administration and they will pay dearly for it.’
One certainty about handing the former president to the controversial ICC, which only investigates and judges leaders that Western powers despise, is that such gesture from Ouattara’s administration will seriously jeopardize any ongoing effort of reconciling the Ivorian population.