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Ivory Coast: Detainees released

05-03-2004 News Release 04/18

Geneva (ICRC) – Eight members of the Ivorian defence and security forces were released by the Forces nouvelles on 4 March and handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The operation took place in Man, in the west of the country, in the presence of representatives from the ECOWAS mission in Ivory Coast (ECOMICI), French forces from Operation Licorne, and the United Nations Mission in Ivory Coast (MINUCI).

Two ICRC delegates, one of them a doctor, spoke with each of the detainees in private before their release in order to assess their health and ensure that they did wish to be taken to Abidjan. The delegates then travelled with them on an aircraft provided by the French forces to Abidjan, where they were handed over to the Ivorian armed forces commander of joint operations.

The ICRC took part in a similar operation on 7 December 2003, when 40 servicemen were brought back to the capital. On both occasions, the detainees were released on the decision of and with the consent of all authorities concerned. An amnesty law passed on 6 August 2003 provides the basis for the release of persons held for offences against State security and national defence.

Following this latest handover operation, the ICRC considers that all members of the Ivorian defence and security forces who were arrested as a result of the armed conflict that broke out on 19 September 2002, and whom it had visited, have now been released. The organization will continue its work on behalf of other people who remain deprived of their freedom as a result of these events.

 For more information, please contact:  

 Pierre Ryter, ICRC Abidjan, tel. ++ 225 224 000 70  

 Juan Martinez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 2281 or ++41 79 217 32 17