A court in Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan has handed down a life sentence to a former warlord, Amadé Ouérémi, for his role in massacres that were carried out in the west of the country following the disputed election in late 2010.
The UN said 300 people were killed in Duékoué although the International Committee of the Red Cross said more than 800 died in a single day – 29 March 2011.
At the time Ivory Coast was in the grip of a civil war – which arose from Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to step down as president after losing an election to Alassane Ouattara.
The five months of violence were described as some of the most brutal clashes the country had ever seen.
Ouérémi’s militia was also allegedly responsible for the destruction of a camp for displaced people in Nahibly, also in the vicinity of Duékoué, in July 2012.
The former militia leader was arrested in May 2013 in a rainforest where he had been making a living from trafficking timber and the cultivation and sale of cocoa beans.
Ouérémi faced 24 charges including mass murder and rape.
Given the magnitude of the war crimes committed during the crisis – more than 3,000 people died – many in Ivory Coast feel others should also be put on trial, our reporter says.