Urging all sides in the divided West African country of Côte d’Ivoire to play their part to ensure that free and fair elections can be staged by the end of October, the Security Council today called for the deployment of “as many mobile courts as possible” to help in the process of identifying and registering voters who do not have official papers.
In a statement read out by Ghana’s Ambassador Nana Effah-Appenteng, Council President for August, the 15-member body said that up to 150 mobile courts may be needed across the country to hear individual identification cases.
The presidential statement condemned recent “obstructions to the normal functioning of the mobile courts,” and demanded that all parties allow the courts to carry out their work without further hindrance, noting that the procedures for the courts had been determined in consultation with President Laurent Gbagbo.
The mobile courts have been set up ahead of elections scheduled for October to allow those Ivorians without official documents to prove their nationality and be registered as voters.
Council members said they expected that Côte d’Ivoire’s defence and security forces and the rebel Forces Nouvelles will ensure the security of mobile court hearings in those areas under their control. The country has been divided between the Government-controlled south and the rebel-held north since 2002.
The presidential statement stressed the importance, before the polls are held, of implementing both the voter-identification scheme and a concurrent scheme to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate militia members.
The Council also slated violent attacks by organized groups, “in particular the Young Patriots,” a group of supporters of Mr. Gbagbo, which led to the deaths of civilians last month and damage to the vehicle of Gérard Stoudmann, UN High Representative for the Elections.
At a “mini-summit” hosted by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Yamoussoukro, the Ivorian capital, on 5 July, the country’s major parties pledged to follow a road map that is supposed to lead to the staging of free and fair elections by October.