Officials in Cote d'Ivoire have sworn in the members of a special commission aimed at forging national unity after deadly violence that followed last year's disputed presidential election. The United States commends President Alassane Ouattara on the launching of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as a positive step in addressing the post-election crisis.
Eleven commission members were named early last month. It is chaired by the country's former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny and represents a broad cross-section of Ivorian society. The panel, modeled after a similar effort conducted in South Africa to heal the nation following the end of the oppressive system of Apartheid in that country, is expected to take testimony from the families of people killed by forces with loyalties to either side. At least 3,000 people died, and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes, in the fighting that followed former President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to step down after his unsuccessful re-election bid.
Even as the commission begins its work there are questions about how it will function. To be effective, the panel must address these uncertainties and operate in an open and transparent manner.
The United States calls on former Prime Minister Banny to use his mandate to work towards true and lasting reconciliation among Ivoirians. We also call on the government to further clarify the roles of the different government bodies charged with dealing with the post-electoral crisis.