Human-rights violations rampant
“They [FRCI the officers] came into the yards and chased the women. Then they told the men to line up and asked them to state their first and second names and show their identity card. Then they executed them. I was present while they sorted out the men. Three young men, one of whom was about 15, were shot dead in front of me.”
Other testimonies confirmed that several people were killed after they showed their identity cards. A Protestant pastor recounted to Amnesty International how he fled the violence:
“That Tuesday [29 March], I ran with people from my congregation to seek refuge at the Catholic Mission. When we arrived at the CP II area, they shot at us. My son and two other persons were killed. A few meters further, they arrested me and asked for my ethnic group. I told them that I was a pastor. They then asked me for my identity card, they did not check everything as they were arguing with another inhabitant who was running away. When that person said that he was from the Bété ethnic group,24 they asked him to lie down and they slit his throat. I took this opportunity to run away.”
The AI report also reflects the inaction of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), based just one kilometer from the main location of killings in Duékoué. Victims told Amnesty they had repeatedly requested the assistance of UNOCI but had not received any response.
The presence of UNOCI in the region of Duékoué was limited to a battalion of 200 soldiers; therefore the protection of tens of thousands of displaced people could not be guaranteed.
Amnesty International issued several appeals, both publicly and privately, that UNOCI strengthen its presence, but UNOCI took no action.
"UNOCI's mission is to protect the civilian population, but in some cases it was clearly not done," said Gaetan Mootoo. UNOCI representatives have told us (AI) it was incumbent upon the State to protect civilians, but since national forces, first under the authority of Laurent Gbagbo and then under that of Alassane Ouattara, have themselves committed atrocities, how can we expect them to protect the civilian population?" he asked.
Attacks against villages inhabited by people belonging to ethnic groups seen as favorable to Laurent Gbagbo continued during the first weeks of May. Between 6 and 8 May, several villages were burned and dozens of people were killed.
The FRCI have justified these acts by claiming they were searching for weapons and Liberian mercenaries.
Since December 2010, forces and militias loyal to Laurent Gbagbo have also committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including extrajudicial killings, torture and rape, the Report confirms.
In late February, they bombed a densely populated neighborhood of Abidjan, after it came into the hands of anti-Gbagbo armed forces. Several civilans were killed.
A witness to the bombing told Amnesty International:
"I still have the image of two women whose legs were cut when the shell landed. They were taken to hospital but did not survive their injuries ...”