Liberia: Liberia to extradite 41 Ivorians for role in ICoast conflict
A tyre set on fire by pro-Ouattara supporters burns in the Koumassi neighborhood in Abidjan
A court in eastern Liberia on Thursday ruled to extradite 41 Ivorians to their home country to stand trial for their role in Ivory Coast's 2011 post-election conflict.
"The petition of the government of Liberia is hereby granted by this court," Judge Sakaichiepo Wolo announced in the court in Zwedru, the capital of south-eastern Grand Gedeh county, which borders Ivory Coast.
The 41 accused were taken to the Zwedru central prison under heavy guard to await extradition.
"It is left now with the authorities of Ivory Coast to decide when these people should be extradited to their country where they will face trial," defence attorney John Gabriel told AFP after the verdict.
They were arrested on April 19 last year by United Nations forces as they attempted to cross the border into Liberia with cars, guns and ammunition shortly after the capture of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo.
All 41 are Ivorian, contrary to earlier reports that some Liberians were among them.
Gbagbo's refusal to accept election defeat to current Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara led to a four-month conflict in the country that claimed some 3,000 lives.
Gbagbo was captured on April 11, 2011 and has been in custody in The Hague since November on allegations of crimes against humanity.
Many of his supporters fled to neighbouring countries, including Liberia.
Two weeks ago 22 people, including seven UN peacekeepers from Niger, were killed in two separate attacks in western Ivory Coast, which Ivorian officials say they believe originated in Liberia.
Shortly before the attacks Human Rights Watch issued a report saying at least 40 people had been killed since July 2011 in raids from Liberia by diehard Gbagbo supporters.
The Liberian government has since listed 10 "persons of interest", eight Liberian and two Ivorian, who are wanted in connection with the attacks. Two of the Liberians handed themselves in this week.
Among those wanted is Ivorian former youth leader Charles Ble Goude, who at the height of the crisis rallied his followers to take up arms.
His whereabouts have been unknown since Gbagbo's fall.
Ivorian Prime Minister Jeannot Ahoussou-Koudio said Tuesday the attacks were "the last jolts of Laurent Gbagbo's bloody regime, and this cannot undermine a reconciliation."
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