Ivory Coast's presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara said on Friday he had asked the International Criminal Court to send a mission to Ivory Coast to investigate post-election violence in the west African state.
A drawn-out dispute over results of a Nov. 28 presidential election, intended to heal the scars of a 2002-03 war, has instead triggered a violent standoff between incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and Ouattara.
Ouattara has been recognised as the legitimate Ivorian leader by international and regional organisations including the United Nations, the World Bank, ECOWAS and the European Union, while Gbagbo has maintained his grip to power with the backing of the military and the powerful "Young Patriot" movement.
The United Nations on Thursday put the death toll from the violence at more than 170, and residents of pro-Ouattara neighbourhoods have said masked gunmen are now breaking into homes by night, kidnapping and in some cases killing people.
"Indeed, violence has resurfaced in our cities and our neighbourhoods. Serious violations of human rights have been reported. During the curfew, people were abducted and executed by elements of the Republican Guard ... backed by mercenaries and foreign militia," Ouattara said in a statement.
"In view of the seriousness of the facts, I asked the International Criminal Court to send a mission to our country in the coming days," he said.
Officials at the Hague-based court were not immediately available for comment.
The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast on Thursday said that masked supporters of Gbagbo armed with rocket launchers had been blocking a road to Anyama, around N'Dotre, which it said is "a village outside Abidjan where allegations point to existence of a mass grave".
The U.N. Human Rights Council issued a declaration condemning human rights violations and called for reconciliation to prevent civil war.
ReutersLast Mod: 25 Aralık 2010, 12:15