Ivory Coast ratifies Rome Statute

Feb. 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The French government welcomed a recent decision by former colony Ivory Coast to ratify the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

"This important decision confirms the commitment of the states of the African continent to the fight against impunity," a statement from the French government read. "Ivory Coast thus becomes the 122th state party to the ICC statute."

Youssoufou Bamba, Ivorian ambassador to the United Nations, delivered the instrument of ratification to U.N. headquarters last week.

"This most recent ratification brings to 34 the number of states parties in Africa, which is a sign of growing acknowledgement of the role of ICC in the global fight against impunity for the gravest international crimes," Tiina Intelmann, president of states parties to the Rome Statute, said in a statement.

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo appeared Tuesday before the ICC. He was arrested in 2011 with the help of French peacekeepers and transferred to The Hague, before Ivory Coast ratified the Rome Statute.

The court says Gbagbo may bear criminal responsibility for four counts of crimes against humanity for actions during violence that rocked the West African country following contested presidential elections in 2010.

Gbagbo's government accepted limited ICC jurisdiction in 2003.

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