Jurisdiction in the general situation
Côte d’Ivoire, was not party to the Rome Statute at the time, had accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC on 18 April 2003; and on both 14 December 2010 and 3 May 2011, the Presidency of Côte d'Ivoire reconfirmed the country’s acceptance of this jurisdiction. On 15 February 2013, Côte d’Ivoire ratified the Rome Statute. On 3 October 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber III granted the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation proprio motu in the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, with respect to alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, committed since 28 November 2010, as well as with regard to crimes that may be committed in the future in the context of this situation. On 22 February 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber III decided to expand its authorisation for the investigation in Côte d’Ivoire to include crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed between 19 September 2002 and 28 November 2010. The ICC may therefore exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on the territory of Côte d’Ivoire or by its nationals from 19 September 2002 onwards.
Context and alleged crimes
The investigation has focused on alleged crimes against humanity committed during the 2010/2011 post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire. According to reports, the post-election violence erupted after Presidential election results between opponents Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Alassane Ouattara were disputed.
In granting the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber noted the Prosecutor’s intention to investigate the actions of both pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces. The Prosecutor submitted that attacks directed against the civilian population in Côte d'Ivoire were widespread and systematic, and included, for example, raids conducted against headquarters of the opposing party, excessive force used in heavily populated areas in order to disperse protesters, and military roadblocks and checkpoints set up, at which killings allegedly occurred. The Prosecutor submitted that the acts were on a large scale, and that approximately 1 million people were displaced. The Prosecutor’s supporting material also indicated the existence of several mass graves in Abidjan, and documentation relating to widespread arbitrary arrests, "disappearances" and incidents of rape.
The investigation has involved charges which include the following crimes:
crimes against humanity: murder, rape, other inhumane acts, attempted murder, and persecution
This was the first investigation opened while a country had accepted the Court’s jurisdiction (under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute) but was not yet a State Party.