Côte d’Ivoire: First trial of Duékoué massacre opens ten years later

It was ten years ago, almost to the day. While Côte d’Ivoire was plunged into a violent post-election crisis, on 29 March 2011, pro-Ouattara militias took Duékoué, in the west of the country. The city was the scene of a massacre that killed more than 800 people, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Since Wednesday, March 24, a man has been on trial before the criminal court in Abidjan. Amadé Ouéréni, a former bandit and trafficker from the western mountains, is said to have lent a hand to the ex-rebels during the conquest of this region in 2011. Arrested in 2013, he is accused of being one of the architects of the Duékoué massacre. He is appearing alone. The trial is scheduled to continue on Thursday, March 25.
It was a puny man, wearing flip-flops and a worn polo shirt, who appeared before the judge on Wednesday, March 24. Amadé Ouérémi listens to the charges. There are about twenty of them, from “genocide” to “war crimes” to “assassination”, “rape”, “attack” or “extortion”.
Then, for two hours, the clerk reads a long litany of testimonies describing the savagery of the violence of late March 2011: the summary executions of men, old men and boys, women and girls raped, houses looted and burned… Amadé Ouérémi is suspected of having actively participated in these killings with his men.
The interrogation of the president then began. Amadé Ouérémi tried to explain that he was under the orders of a rebel leader, Lieutenant Coulibaly, nicknamed Coul. However, he denies having participated in the massacres. “I was in the village of Blodi. I was loading ammunition. I only arrived the day after the liberation of Duékoué, at 4 p.m.,” he recounts in difficult French.
During all the debates, Amadé Ouérémi posed as a small hand, with no man under his command. However, he defended the operation against the Carrefour neighborhood, which he said was aimed at pro-Gbagbo militiamen. “But who killed these 817 people in one day? “The president regularly insists. “It’s the war! “The accused replied for the first time, later also pointing to the dozo hunters. A dozen witnesses have traveled from Duékoué for this trial. They will wait until Thursday. The hearing is suspended.

About Geraldine Boechat 1816 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia