Reconciliation or prosecution in Ivory Coast?

05 November 2011 by Selay Marius Kouassi

A situation without precedent in a country that seems to have returned to normal. But where hate and anger have yet to disappear completely. Healing the wounds after post-electoral violence in 2010/2011 is the new mandate of the Commission for Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation (CDVR). Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is conducting its investigations in the same country.

Just a few months ago, Côte d’Ivoire was a living nightmare. In Abidjan, the country’s main city, people’s lives were punctuated by the rhythms of heavy arms exploding while their homes and other buildings were looted or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands fled.

The country appears to have reconnected with normality after these tumultuous times. Many of the internally displaced persons have found their way back home. Still, there is a clear and urgent need for national reconciliation. It is, in fact, essential. So naturally, when the launch of the CDVR and the start of the ICC investigation was announced, reconciliation became the preferred topic of discussion among Ivorians.

The Commission for Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation is based on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation model. It has 11 members, mainly representing Christian and Muslim religious authorities and regional representatives from Côte d’Ivoire. Charismatic football player Didier Drogba is its best-known member.

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