The United Nations Security Council today imposed 12-month sanctions and travel bans against three alleged leaders of attacks on UN personnel and property in Côte d’Ivoire deemed to constitute a threat to the peace and national reconciliation in the divided West African country.
Named in a Council announcement was Charles Ble Goude, described as the leader of the Young Patriots, who publicly advocated violence against UN installations and personnel and against foreigners.
The sanctions against Mr. Goude were also justified by his “direction of and participation in acts of violence by street militias, including beatings, rapes and extrajudicial killings; intimidation of the United Nations, the International Working Group (IWG), the political opposition and independent press; sabotage of international radio stations; obstacle to the action of the IWG, the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the French Forces and to the peace process as defined by resolution 1633 (2005).”
That resolution established the ministerial-level International Working Group and the Mediation Group, both co-chaired by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Pierre Schori, in implementing the road map to peace and unity. It supported several peacemaking decisions on the situation by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and demanded an end to all incitement to hatred and violence in the country’s communications media.
A second Ivorian, Eugène Ngoran Kouadio, though not named as a Young Patriot, was accused of the same activities.
The third person put under sanctions was Martin Kouakou, the Corporal Commandant of the Forces Nouvelles, Korhogo Sector, which had fought the Government in the two-year civil war and now controls the northern half of the country.
“Forces under his command engaged in recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, imposition of forced labour, sexual abuse of women, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings, contrary to human rights conventions and to international humanitarian law; obstacle to the action of the IWG, UNOCI, French Forces and to the peace process” as defined by the same resolution, the Council said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Schori said that on Friday in Yamoussoukro, the country’s political capital, the first meeting of representatives of the UN, donor countries and the Government would discuss the country’s road map.
Mr. Schori held talks with President Laurent Gbagbo, and after the meeting told reporters that they had addressed options for ending the crisis, learning lessons from it and permitting UN system representatives to be secure and to benefit from a spirit of cooperation.
“We are here at the invitation of the Government, therefore one must be protected also. In the same way, on our side, we must provide assistance in many fields,” Mr. Schori said.
On his way back to Côte d’Ivoire, after briefing the Security Council in New York on 27 January, Mr. Schori said he had paid a visit to the new President of the continent-wide African Union, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, to discuss the crisis.
He also looked in on those of his UN colleagues who had been evacuated to Banjul, Gambia, during the “Young Patriot” attacks on UN offices in Côte d’Ivoire.