The International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on Wednesday warned that incidences of pre-election violence witnessed in Cote d’Ivoire could amount to war crimes.
Bensouda’s warning comes just days before the West African country holds its presidential election scheduled for 31 October.
Cote d’Ivoire has witnessed an increase in violence as voters gear up to choose the country’s next leader.
President Alassane Ouattara is seeking a third term, but he faces competition from former president Henri Konan Bedie, former prime minister Affi N’Guessan and former parliamentarian Kouadio Konan Bertin.
Bensouda called for calm in Cote d’Ivoire ahead of the Saturday vote, saying persons who perpetrated violence were liable for prosecution.
“I call on all political actors and their supporters to show calm and restraint. The violence seen in Côte d’Ivoire during the first pre-election crisis of 2010 must not be repeated,” she noted.
“Violence by any side of the political divide is not an option. Any person who commits, orders, incites, encourages or contributes in any other way to the commission of crimes referred to in the Rome Statute is liable to prosecution before the courts of Côte d’Ivoire or before the ICC.”
According to Reuters, nearly 30 people have been killed in the pre-election violence.