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10/10/2012

Koné Katinan, the impossible extradition

Ivorian authorities have come back to Kone Katinan’s case in the most awkward way. In fact, destabilized by the bail which was granted by the Ghanaian justice, they decided to fight back with a new arrest warrant, under which the Minister Koné Katinan and former Minister Desire Dallo, already dying in the jails of Ouattara’s regime for other charges, are now accused of killing from 25th to March 29, 2011, Mr Kamagate Seydou, a welder of 83 years old and Drissa Diabate, a 37 years old trader.

Revolt vies with indignation in the grotesque character of this new procedure. Although the unfortunate minister was in the viewfinder of Ouattara’s regime for a long time, and many arrest warrants have been issued against several Gbagbo supporters exiled outside the country, it is suddenly now that the new authorities of the Côte d'Ivoire discover that the Minister Koné Katinan have committed violent crimes. What a sad image of our country in the world when the United Nations General Assembly devoted its discussions precisely on the rule of law!

In fact, this new arrest warrant is explained by the fact that the texts protecting refugees read that they "do not apply to any person whose state of asylum has serious reasons to believe (...) that he/she has committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of refuge prior to being admitted as a refugee.” This provision of the 1969 OAU Convention is found in most other texts including Ghanaian law on Refugees of 1992 and the Extradition Act (1960 or even the 2012 draft).

But even in this case, the clear and unambiguous texts do not permit extradition in all cases. As required by the Convention on Extradition of ECOWAS and the laws of Ghana, at least in three cases, the request for extradition may be refused: if there are serious reasons to fear that the request for extradition for a criminal offense has been made for the purpose of prosecuting an individual for reasons of political opinion, and when the person whose extradition is sought can be submitted in the requesting state to torture and other cruel,  inhuman and degrading treatments and when the individual is not likely to benefit during criminal proceedings from a minimum guarantees provided by Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

 

Ouattara’s government is the main obstacle to the extradition

 

The least one can say is that these three assumptions are true in the case of Côte d'Ivoire. Indeed, the political motivations of the extradition request are not in doubt. Is there any need to say that the crimes allegedly took place in the context of a conflict with the political election cannot be challenged? The quality of current spokesman of President Laurent Gbagbo of Minister Koné Katinan and his intense diplomatic activity clearly annoy the Ivorian government who wants to silence him. That is why, after failing to extradite him for economic crimes, the Ivorian authorities like magicians have done this other arrest warrant for violent crimes that the unfortunate Katinan Justin Koné has never committed.

Ouattara’s regime that refuses freedom of expression to the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) will subject Minister Koné Katinan to cruel and degrading treatments. The terrible repression that is organized against the opposition in Côte d'Ivoire, including FPI has become an open secret. Laurent Gbagbo’s family has not escaped the fury of Ouattara’s regime. The example of the former defense minister Moises Lida Kouassi, forcibly extradited from Togo and tortured to confess imaginary coup, is still fresh in our minds to know what awaits Koné Katinan assuming he is extradited to Côte d'Ivoire.

 

And this is not the Ivorian judicial system we have to trust in order to defend the rights violated every day in Côte d'Ivoire. Ouattara has introduced a victor's justice which is not contested by any observer of the Ivorian political scene. It cannot provide the minimum guarantees required by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, whose principles are undermined. Thus the presumption of innocence and the right to be tried within a reasonable time is unknown by this court which holds, without judgment, in its cells, pro-Gbagbo for at least 18 months. The courts are not impartial to the extent that the victors’ justice pursues only those it has identified as being pro-Gbagbo. The right of the defence is violated with the warrantless searches at the homes of detainees' lawyers and the many obstacles to the exercise of their profession.

 

Certainly the reign of the state of police and the desire to suppress an effective opposition to the current regime are good reasons for refusing the extradition of Minister Koné Katinan. And the fact that the Ivorian authorities have preferred Interpol for this second procedure does not change anything to the situation. In addition, this international organization is prohibited from interfering in political affairs (Article 3), its statutes compel it to operate within the laws existing in the different Member States (Avec article 2), including Ghana, which in addition to its own laws, adhered to a set of international instruments governing refugees and extradition.

 

Interpol cannot do another thing than refusing the request for extradition. No "simplified procedure for surrender of persons from police to police" that would allow the National Central Bureau (NCB) of Interpol to put a person proceeded to the judicial authorities of a foreign country cannot therefore succeed. Provided we scored his action under a rule of law.

This is an opportunity to inform the strongmen of Côte d'Ivoire, the first of them was curiously absent from the last General Assembly of the UN, at this session, nearly 80 Heads of State and government or ministers adopted by acclamation a statement that underlines the importance of the rule of law, "as one of the essential elements of conflict prevention, peace-keeping, conflict resolution and the consolidation of peace. " The new governance policy is inseparable from the rule of law.

 

Ouattara and John Mahama: two opposing governance

 

Clearly, the case of Koné Katinan gives us two totally different governances. On the one hand, that of Ghana under the leadership of President John Dramani Mahama and in the wake of President Atta Mills, who respects the rule of law and separation of powers, does not interfere with the powers of the judicial authority. This does not prevent the country from implement an impressive program of strengthening its basic infrastructure, particularly in the field of communications with highways, bridges and interchanges built each year across the country, including Accra, and especially to achieve economic performance with a rate of double-digit growth (14% in 2011), making Ghana a middle-income state.

Katinan freeOn the other hand, there is the (bad) governance regime Ouattara, who sees incompatible development and rule of law. Thus, by dangling an emerging Côte d'Ivoire in 2025, he tramples the rule of law, democratic freedoms and fundamental rights of the human person (400 abductions, 360-380 arrests, 4 killed in Abidjan and at least 12 camps of torture according to the latest report of the FPI). Ouattara's political career is also characterized by a constant challenge to the judicial authority. The violent challenge to the decision of the Constitutional Council of 3 December 2012 is the epilogue of a long series. In 2000, two judgments of the Supreme Court invalidating his candidacy for the presidential and legislative elections were disputed and sometimes violent with an attempted coup. In 1993, despite the Supreme Court decision dismissing his motion dilatory he was obliged to resign to allow the President to exercise his office Bedie presidency.

 

Dr. Edmond Kouakou, Lawyer-Consultant   and James Cenach, Journalist

 

18:32 Écrit par Alain Doh Bi | Commentaires (0) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

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