Ivory Coast ex-warlord gets life sentence over 2011 Duekoue massacre

·1-min read

A court in Abidjan on Thursday handed a life sentence to former warlord Amade Oueremi for his part in March 2011 massacres in western Ivory Coast in which hundreds were killed.

Oueremi had faced 24 charges of mass murder, rape, and inhumane and degrading treatment over the violence in Duekoue, which occurred as Ivory Coast was in the grip of a post-election civil war.

The Red Cross says 817 people were killed in one day in Duekoue, while the UN puts the toll at 300.

Oueremi's lawyer said he did not deny the massacres, but that he was under the command of rebel chiefs.

Ivory Coast's cocoa-producing western region was the worst-hit during the 2010-11 post-election crisis.

Then president Laurent Gbagbo was eventually forced out of office after refusing to accept defeat by the current president, Alassane Ouattara.

The months-long conflict claimed some 3,000 lives and split the country along north-south lines.

Oueremi, 57, was head of a militia that fought alongside pro-Ouattara rebels against rival groups and forces loyal to Gbagbo, which have also been accused of atrocities.

According to the UN and other international organisations, the capture of Duekoue in March 2011 by pro-Ouattara fighters was accompanied by large-scale massacres.

The trial began on March 24 and has notably featured testimony from women who spoke of their husbands and other relatives being brutally killed in front of them.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)