President of Human Rights Council appoints International Commission of Inquiry to investigate Human Rights violations in Côte d'Ivoire

12 April 2011

Geneva – The President of Human Rights Council today appointed three high-level experts as members of the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential elections of 28 November 2010, as mandated by the Human Rights Council. The Experts are Vitit Muntabhorn, Suliman Baldo, and Reine Alapini Gansou*. Mr. Muntabhorn will serve as Chair of the Commission.

The Council resolved by consensus to dispatch the independent, international Commission of Inquiry at the end of its sixteenth regular session on 25 March 2011.

The Commission’s mandate is “to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential election of 28 November 2010, in order to identify those responsible fur such acts and bring them to justice”.

The same resolution requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the full administrative, technical and logistical support needed to enable the Commission to carry out its mandate.

The Commission is due to present its findings to the Council at its next session in June.

The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow today expressed concern with the continuing violence in Côte D’Ivoire. “The appointment of the Commission underscores the gravity of the situation of alleged violations of human rights,” he said.

Ambassador Phuangketkeow urged all parties concerned to extend full cooperation to the Commission of Inquiry in discharging its mandate.

(*)The Members of the Commission of Inquiry are:

Vitit Muntabhorn (Thailand) will serve as the Chair of the Commission. Mr. Muntabhorn is a professor of law at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He currently also serves as member of the Committee of Experts on the Applications of Conventions and Recommendations of the International Labour Organization. He served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from 2004 to June 2010 and as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography from 1990 to 1994. In 2004 he was awarded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Prize for Human Rights Education in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education for human rights and diverse activities at national, regional and international levels in favour of promotion and protection of all human rights for all. Among the various position he has held over his longstanding career as a human rights defender are former Chairperson of the National Subcommittee on Child Rights of Thailand; Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists; member of the Advisory Council of Jurists, Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions; Co-Chairperson, Civil Society Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Body; Representative of Thailand to the High Level Panel on the establishment of the ASEAN Human Rights Commission; and member of the Advisory Group of Eminent Persons, United Nations Refugee Agency.

Suliman Baldo (Sudan) is a widely recognized expert on conflict resolution, emergency relief, development, and human rights in Africa. Mr. Baldo holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (1982) and an M.A. in Modern literature (1976), both from the University of Dijon in France. He also holds a B.A. from the University of Khartoum, in the Sudan. He has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Sudan, and travelled widely throughout the rest of the African continent. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he worked as a lecturer at the University of Khartoum; a Field Director for Oxfam America, covering Sudan and the Horn of Africa; and, later, as the founder and director of Al-Fanar Center for Development Services in Khartoum, Sudan. He also spent seven years at Human Rights Watch as a senior researcher in the Africa division. Most recently, he served as the director of the Africa programme at the International Crisis Group. He now works as the Director for the Africa Programme at the International Center for Transitional Justice.

Reine Alapini Gansou (Benin) is a lawyer and the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights since 2009. As a member of the African Commission since 2005, she served as the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders from 2005 to 2009. She has been a professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedural Law at the University of Abomey-Calavi and Parakou since 2004, as well as a Barrister-at-Law since 1986. Ms. Alapini-Gansou has extensive experience in the field of human rights. Prior to joining the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, she worked with several human rights non-governmental organizations and, in this context, organized several regional and national human rights workshops.

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