The latest from Abidjan is that the sore loser of Cote D’Ivoire’s presidential election Laurent Gbagbo is apparently willing to lift the military blockade of the hotel in which his opponent has taken up residence. After spending Monday shuttling between Gbagbo and the hotel in which the internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouatarra has set up his government, mediators from the AU and ECOWAS released a statement saying that Gbagbo has “agreed to negotiate a peaceful end to the crisis without any preconditions.”
That statement, though, may be overly optimistic. Gbagbo has apparently given no indication that he is willing to step down. Earlier in the day, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the situation was still a “stalemate.”
Meanwhile, there is this little nugget tucked into an excellent report from Australia’sSunday Morning Herald. Apparently, the Obama administration is holding out the promise that Gbagbo can relocate to Atlanta, Georgia.
With the clock ticking, a senior US State Department official said that Gbagbo, who has relatives in Atlanta, Georgia, could seek refuge there but that the offer would not last long.
“We want to see him leave. If he wishes to come here, we of course would entertain that as a means of resolving the current situation,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
Interesting…And frankly, it would not be such a terrible resolution to this crisis. But here’s a question for my international legal eagles: If those tales of “disappearances” and mass graves turn out to be accurate, and if there is reasonable grounds to suspect that forces under Gbagbo’s control were responsible for human rights abuses, what options exist in the American legal system for victims to pursue justice? Presumably, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to extradite Gbagbo to the ICC from the USA should the ICC end up issuing indictments. So what judicial remedies are available for these sorts of things in American courts? Would the Alien Tort Claims Act apply?