Ivory Coast Inaugurates Reconcilation Panel

Posted September 28th, 2011 at 4:26 pm (UTC-5)
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Ivory Coast has launched a reconciliation panel aimed at unifying the nation, which endured months of deadly post-election violence this year.

President Alassane Ouattara Inaugurated the Commission on Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation on Wednesday in the political capital, Yamoussoukro.

The head of the commission, former prime minister Charles Konan Banny, noted in remarks the commission does not have the power to grant amnesty.

The 11-member panel is modeled after the commission that helped unify South Africa after the end of apartheid.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who led the panel in his country, warned Tuesday the Ivorian panel's work will be undermined if there is a perception it is applying a “victor's justice.”

In a separate development, Ivory Coast's government said parliament elections will be held December 11. The polls are seen as the next step toward establishing political stability in Ivory Coast.

About 3,000 people were killed in the post-election violence that erupted after former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat in last year's presidential election. Pro-Ouattara fighters eventually seized control of the country and arrested Mr. Gbagbo, who is now under house arrest.

The new reconciliation panel includes religious leaders and people who represent the differing sides of the political struggle. Another member is English Premier League football player Didier Drogba, who represents Ivoirians living abroad.