The Trust Fund for Victims and the Ministry of Reconciliation and National Cohesion of Côte d'Ivoire organised two symbolic reparations ceremonies in Duékoué during the National Days of Peace, Pardon and Remembrance
A video about both ceremonies is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WCsNUeDA9k
Duékoué, The Hague, 17 November 2022 – On the occasion of the National Days of Peace, Forgiveness and Remembrance, with the theme "Remembering, forgiving each other to build the future together”, celebrated from 8 to 15 November in Côte d'Ivoire, the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Ministry of Reconciliation and National Cohesion organised two symbolic reparations ceremonies in the western town of Duékoué to recognise the harm inflicted on victims of the crimes committed there during the 2010-2011 post-electoral crisis.
During these ceremonies, Mr Kouadio Konan Bertin, Minister of Reconciliation and National Cohesion, inaugurated a water point in the Meïté mosque in the Kokoman district and laid the foundation stone for two classrooms in the Carrefour district school complex, which will be rebuilt after they were destroyed during the crisis.
"These community reparations are an important gesture in that they recognise the suffering endured by both communities and provide relief through two strong symbols: water, which is a vital element and has a special place in the Muslim religion, and education, which is the condition for a better future. Through these two solemn ceremonies, I wanted to show the communities of Duékoué that the government of Côte d'Ivoire was at their side and honoured the memory of the victims of March 2011," said Mr Kouadio Konan Bertin, Minister for Reconciliation and National Cohesion.
Photo: Kouadio Konan Bertin, Minister of Reconciliation and National Cohesion at the inauguration of the water point at the Meïté Mosque in Duékoué on 14 November 2022.
The town of Duékoué was one of the hardest hit by the post-election crisis. According to the reports of the National Commission of Inquiry and the United Nations mission deployed in Côte d'Ivoire at the time, two events struck the national and international conscience in particular. On 28 March 2011, the imam of the Meïté mosque and his guardian were murdered, deeply affecting not only their families, but also all the inhabitants of the Kokoman neighbourhood, who were mainly members of the Malinke community. From 29 to 31 March 2011, at least 300 civilians were killed in the Carrefour neighbourhood or its vicinity, which was mainly inhabited by the Guéré community. In addition to the harm suffered by the victims, these crimes had serious consequences for social cohesion within these communities.
"Attempting to repair the damage done to the victims of Duékoué is tantamount to attempting to repair the irreparable. Neither the school in the Carrefour neighbourhood, nor the water point in the Kokoman neighbourhood can obviously put the victims and the communities back to where they were before the crimes they suffered. And yet, something had to be done to respond to their demand to have their suffering officially recognised. 11 years after the crimes, it has been done. Beyond recognition, these symbolic measures also contribute, in the spirit of the Rome Statute, to peace-building: today, on the occasion of the ceremony, some victims have set foot for the first time in a neighbourhood they have long considered hostile. On these national days of peace, forgiveness and remembrance, this is a strong and encouraging signal," said Aude Le Goff, the TFV's representative in Côte d'Ivoire.
Photo: Unveiling of the commemorative plaque at the Meïté mosque in Duékoué during the inauguration of the water point.
To carry out these reparation measures, the Trust Fund for Victims collaborates with the Association of Volunteers for International Service (AVSI), which has conducted extensive consultation with victims and affected communities since 2021.
"It was the communities themselves who chose these symbolic reparations. This was the condition for these actions to have a real reparative value in relation to the harm they suffered. This participatory process takes time and must ensure that all victims can have their voices heard. The satisfaction expressed by many victims today, in the presence of national and local authorities, shows us the way forward," said Lassine Bamba, Director of AVSI in Côte d'Ivoire.
Photo: Laying the foundation stone for the reconstruction of two classrooms at the Carrefour school group in Duékoué
In Duékoué, the TFV and its partner AVSI are also supporting 250 victims with physical and psychological rehabilitation measures and material support to deal with the persistent after-effects.
In Côte d'Ivoire, the TFV’s assistance programme for victims responds, together with the Government of Côte d'Ivoire's programme, to the harm suffered by victims of fifteen serious and emblematic incidents that occurred between 2002 and 2011. To do so, it collaborates with its implementing partners AVSI Foundation, Développement Rural et Agricole à l’Ouest –Lutte contre la Faim (DRAO) and West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and relies on an advisory committee composed of ten victims' organisations and Ivorian civil society.
For more information about the Trust Fund for Victims in Côte d’Ivoire , please contact:
Aude Le Goff : firstname.lastname@example.org ; +225 07 68 76 14 95
Antonin Rabecq : email@example.com ; +225 07 07 83 91 56