No amnesty for I.Coast crimes: ICC prosecutor

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There can be no amnesty for crimes committed in Ivory Coast that come under the competence of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the prosecutor's office said Thurday.

"There is no amnesty applicable for the crimes that come under the court's competence," Emeric Rogier, head of the prosecutor's office situation analysis section, told AFP.

"From the moment that the court is competent, no amnesty can be binding on the court," he added. "That's the rule."

Thus any amnesty negotiated at a national level for embattled Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo would not apply to the ICC, he said.

On Wednesday, the court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced plans to launch a formal probe into mass killings in Ivory Coast.

When it started would depend largely on how it came about, said Rogier: if a nation state made the request, it would happen much faster.

On Thursday, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said France had documentation that could help with such an investigation.

The ICC, which is based at The Hague, in the Netherlands, can open an investigation at the request of the UN Security Council, as in the case of Libya; or at the request of one of the nations that recognise it; or on the initiative of the prosecutor himself, as in the case of Kenya.

The prosecutor's office has already launched a preliminary investigation into the violence in Ivory Coast to see if the crimes committed there are serious enough to come under its jurisdiction.

The court tries allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Several hundred people were reportedly massacred in the western town of Duekoue last week, with forces loyal to rivals Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara blaming each other.

© 2011 AFP

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