UPDATE 1-ICC to investigate all parties in Ivory Coast war

Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:39pm GMT

* ICC deputy prosecutor in Ivory Coast to investigate crimes

* War crimes alleged on both sides in post-election struggle (recasts with ICC after Ouattara meeting)

By Tim Cocks

ABIDJAN, June 28 (Reuters) - An International Criminal Court investigation into alleged war crimes during Ivory Coast's post-election conflict will focus on all parties to it and protect nobody, the deputy prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The ICC's deputy prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was addressing journalists in the main city Abidjan, where she is opening an investigation into crimes committed during a violent power struggle between President Alassane Ouattara and former president Laurent Gbagbo over disputed a Nov. 28 election.

She earlier signed an accord to launch the inquiry with Justice Minister Jeannot Ahoussou Kouadio, who also pledged that no one who committed war crimes would escape justice. She then met with top Ivorian officials, including president Ouattara.

"One of the most important things we have discussed -- the president and the ICC delegation -- is that we are going to focus on crimes of all sides," Bensouda said.

Gbagbo's supporters complain that not a single member of Ouattara's camp has been arrested for alleged crimes, despite evidence of abuses by the former rebel troops.

"The president has assured us that there is no plan to protect anybody, and that anybody who is responsible for these most serious crimes over which the ICC has jurisdiction is not going to be protected," Bensouda said. "This is very important for the credibility of the court."   Continued...

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