From its independence in 1960 through the 1980s, Côte d’Ivoire was hailed for its economic prosperity and relative stability. But, underneath the veneer of harmony, dangerous cracks were already emerging along political, ethnic, and geographic lines in the years after independence. With the same three actors at the forefront of politics since 1993—the current president, Alassane Ouattara, and former presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Henri Konan Bédié—these cracks eventually ruptured, most notably with a 1999 coup d’état, the 2002-2003 armed conflict, and, in its culmination, with the six months of post-election violence from November 2010 to May 2011. No one was credibly brought to justice for the grave crimes committed during the decade of violence preceding the 2010 elections, which allowed impunity to firmly take hold, particularly among Gbagbo’s security forces and allied militias as well as with the Forces Nouvelles (“New Forces”) rebels who became Ouattara’s Republican Forces.
From Independence to the 2000 Elections
Under the leadership of founding President Félix Houphouët-Boigny from independence in 1960 until the 1990s, Côte d’Ivoire became a key economic power in West Africa and a global leader in cocoa and coffee production. During this time, the country had an “open-door policy” to immigrants, and given its relative stability and prosperity, the country became a magnet for the migrant workers, largely from members of the regional economic block, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). These migrant workers eventually composed an estimated 26 percent of its population. Houphouët-Boigny, a Catholic and ethnic Baoulé, oversaw a government that nominally reflected the country’s ethnic and religious make-up; ethnic tensions were relatively rare, but on occasion were violently repressed. 
Throughout his 33 year presidency, Houphouët-Boigny suppressed opposition political parties, permitting only his Parti Démocratique de la Côte d’Ivoire (Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire, PDCI) to exist until 1990. Among his targets was a young history professor and leading trade unionist named Laurent Gbagbo, who agitated for multi-party rule and was imprisoned from 1971 to 1973 for “subversive teaching” and “fomenting insecurity.” Gbagbo ultimately spent much of the 1980s in exile in France, following his secret establishment of the Front Populaire Ivoirien (Ivorian Popular Front, FPI) political party. Gbagbo returned to Côte d’Ivoire in 1988 as the head of the FPI and ran against Houphouët-Boigny in the country’s first multi-party elections in 1990; Houphouët-Boigny won in a landslide, but Gbagbo won a seat in the National Assembly one month later.
After his re-election, Houphouët-Boigny appointed as prime minister Alassane Ouattara, an economist who had ascended to high levels at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bank of West African States (commonly referred to as the BCEAO, the acronym from its French name). Gbagbo soon railed against what he perceived to be a government led by “foreigners.”  The provocation was mostly aimed at Ouattara and initiated a long campaign of politically motivated contests over Ouattara’s citizenship.  On March 6, 1992, Gbagbo was sentenced to two years imprisonment following his arrest for leading large student protests against the PDCI government. Gbagbo apparently blamed Ouattara for the crackdown and arrest, which deepened an animosity between the two. 
After Houphouët-Boigny died in 1993, which coincided with a continuing deterioration in Côte d’Ivoire’s economy, politicians focused more explicitly on nationality and ethnicity as a means of securing support. The 1995 presidential elections saw a power scramble after the decades of one-party government and involved the same principal actors that would run for president in 2010: Henri Konan Bédié, who assumed the presidency following Houphouët-Boigny’s death and led the PDCI; Laurent Gbagbo, head of the FPI; and Ouattara, head of the Rassemblement des républicains (Rally of the Republicans, RDR). In targeting Ouattara, his main political rival, Bédié coined the idea of Ivoirité, or “Ivorianness”—an ultra-nationalist discourse that redefined what it meant to be an Ivorian, marginalizing northern Ivorians and accusing immigrants of trying to control the economy. Ouattara was born in the northern town of Dimbroko to a mother from Côte d’Ivoire but spent much of his childhood in what is now Burkina Faso, then called Upper Volta, and traveled on an Upper Volta passport from when he went to the US for post-secondary education in the 1960s through his time at the IMF and BCEAO in the 1970s and early 1980s. Bédié preyed on rising anti-northern and anti-immigrant sentiments and was able to bar Ouattara’s candidacy on the alleged grounds that he was not a native Ivorian.The RDR boycotted the election, as did Gbagbo’s FPI, and Bédié won easily.
On December 24, 1999, soldiers disgruntled over low pay seized power from President Bédié and asked General Robert Guei, Bédié’s chief of staff, to lead the government. After taking power, Guei formed a broad-based junta that included ministers from leading opposition parties, including the RDR and FPI, and pledged to clean up corruption and rewrite the constitution. By July 2000, in advance of scheduled 2000 elections, it became clear that General Guei had political ambitions and that he, too, was ready to foment ethnic differences in order to eliminate political rivals. A widely-criticized constitutional referendum was held, and the new constitution set new, stricter eligibility requirements for contesting public office—both parents of anyone wishing to contest the presidential election had to have been born in Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara and other candidates challenged the new requirements, but on October 6, 2000, the Supreme Court disqualified 14 of the 19 presidential candidates, including Ouattara, on citizenship grounds, and former president Bédié, for not submitting a proper medical certificate.
On October 22, 2000, presidential elections were held. After early results showed Gbagbo leading in the polls, General Guei dissolved the National Electoral Commission and proclaimed himself the winner—an ironic omen of Gbagbo’s own efforts to maintain power 10 years later. On October 24, 2000, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets and descended on the city center. President Guei’s elite Presidential Guard opened fire on demonstrators, killing scores. On October 25, 2000, after the military and police abandoned him, General Guei fled the country and Gbagbo declared himself president. The next day, Ouattara’s RDR once again took to the streets, this time demanding fresh elections on the grounds that Ouattara had been arbitrarily barred from running. Gbagbo refused. The bloody clashes that ensued were characterized by religious and ethnic divisions as security forces and civilians supporting President Gbagbo clashed with the mostly Muslim northerners who formed the core of support for the RDR.
As Ouattara and the RDR prepared to participate in the December parliamentary elections, the Supreme Court again barred him on citizenship groups. In response, the RDR called for an election boycott, took to the streets in protest, and later disrupted voting in many northern areas. Bloody clashes continued through the legislative elections. More than 200 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the violence surrounding these October and December elections. Security forces gunned down demonstrators in the streets of Abidjan; hundreds of northerners and RDR supporters were targeted on the basis of ethnicity and religion and arbitrarily arrested, detained, and tortured; and security forces committed rape and other human rights violations in complicity with FPI supporters. The bodies of 57 young men were later discovered in a mass grave in Abidjan’s Yopougon neighborhood. Human Rights Watch research at that time as well as a United Nations inquiry concluded that the responsibility for the massacre rested squarely with members of the gendarmerie. Yet those responsible for the killings and other election-related violence were never brought to justice, beginning a decade of impunity.
Armed Conflict and Political-Military Stalemate
On September 19, 2002, rebels from the Patriotic Movement of Côte d’Ivoire (Mouvement Patriotique de Côte d’Ivoire, MPCI) attacked strategic targets in Abidjan along with the northern towns of Bouaké and Korhogo.  Although it did not succeed in taking Abidjan, the MPCI, soon joined by two western-based rebel factions,  quickly managed to control the northern half of Côte d’Ivoire. The three rebel groups formed a political-military alliance called the Forces Nouvelles, which sought to end political exclusion and discrimination against northern Ivorians and remove Gbagbo, whose presidency they perceived as illegitimate due to flaws in the elections. 
The Gbagbo government’s initial response was to launch an operation in Abidjan in which security forces descended on low-income neighborhoods occupied primarily by immigrants and northern Ivorians. During these operations they claimed to be searching for weapons and rebels, but in many cases simply ordered out all residents and burned or demolished their homes. The raids displaced over 12,000 people and were accompanied by numerous human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, summary executions, rape, and enforced disappearances. In addition, extortion was widespread and commonplace. For their part in the north, MPCI rebel group killed at least 40 unarmed gendarmes and 30 of their family members in Bouaké between October 6 and 8; summary executions of captured Gbagbo security forces indeed became routine.
In subsequent months, armed clashes broke out between the two fighting forces. Fighting was particularly intense in the country’s far west, where both sides had recruited Liberian mercenaries, and militias—often referred to as community self-defense groups—fought with Gbagbo’s security forces. Most violence, however, was aimed at civilians, rather than the armed forces fighting against each other. Human Rights Watch at the time documented grave crimes committed by all sides, including summary executions, massacres, targeted sexual violence, indiscriminate helicopter attacks, and arbitrary arrests and detention by Gbagbo’s government forces; state-supported violence, including killings, by the militia groups; and summary executions, massacres, targeted sexual violence, and torture by the Forces Nouvelles. Liberian groups aligned to both sides were implicated in large-scale killing of civilians, and forces fighting for both sides used child soldiers.
In May 2003, a ceasefire agreement formally ended active armed conflict between the government and the Forces Nouvelles, though occasional breaches of the ceasefire continued through 2005. The country was split in two—as it would remain through 2010—with the Forces Nouvelles controlling the north and the government the south. Severe human rights violations against civilian populations continued in both parts of the country. On March 25, 2004, Gbagbo’s forces indiscriminately killed more than 100 civilians around a planned demonstration by opposition groups; some 20 more were victims of enforced disappearances.Violent, pro-Gbagbo militia groups like FESCI and the Young Patriots began supporting security forces in the intimidation, extortion, and violence against northerners, immigrants, and other people perceived to be in the opposition. In the Forces Nouvelles-controlled north, commanders became wealthy through extortion and racketeering; with no judicial system there, arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial executions also continued against perceived government supporters. Sexual violence against women and girls remained widespread throughout the country. Armed forces and civilians terrorized women, who found themselves without effective state support due to weak legal and security institutions that failed to prevent violence, prosecute perpetrators, or support victims. For all of the grave crimes committed during the 2002-2003 armed conflict and its aftermath, no one was held to account.
Peace Agreements and Peacekeepers
After the end of hostilities, the warring parties signed a number of peace agreements that sought to bring about disarmament and the country’s reunification. France, ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN spearheaded various initiatives to end the stalemate, but all effectively failed. 
On February 27, 2004, the UN Security Council established a peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire—known as the UN Operations in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI, or ONUCI by its French acronym). The force, deployed on April 4, 2004, comprised some 8,000 UN peacekeepers and nearly 1,000 police officers, and was backed by 5,000 more heavily armed French troops belonging to Force Licorne. These peacekeepers monitored a buffer zone running the width of the country east to west, known as the “Zone of Confidence,” which separated the opposing Ivorian forces. The UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire was charged with assisting the government in implementing a national disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration plan, and with protecting civilians under imminent threat of violence. The UN Security Council also imposed an arms embargo on Côte d’Ivoire in November 2004.
In March 2007, President Gbagbo and Forces Nouvelles head Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA), later endorsed by the African Union and the United Nations Security Council. The OPA , which was the first to have been directly negotiated by the country’s main belligerents on their own initiative, resulted in Soro’s appointment as prime minister in a unity government and the hope that Côte d’Ivoire was moving out of “no peace, no war.” The agreement reiterated previously defined objectives, including disarmament, citizen identification, voter registration, and the country’s reunification—including unified armed forces and the return of state authorities to the north. The OPA also called for presidential elections by early 2008, but delays were almost immediate. Citizen identification and voter registration were at times marred by violence, including riots and the shooting of demonstrators by security forces, as issues of nationality and ethnicity continued to fester. Gbagbo repeatedly delayed elections on the grounds that the conditions outlined in the OPA were not met. He ultimately served five years beyond his mandate, but pressure mounted domestically and internationally, and, after seven previous delays, he agreed to an October 2010 poll.
2010 Elections and Immediate Aftermath
Côte d’Ivoire held the first round of presidential elections on October 31, 2010. As they had since Houphouët-Boigny’s death, the elections primarily involved Ouattara, Gbagbo, and Bédié. The first round took place calmly and, with record turnout—at over 85 percent—Gbagbo took 38.3 percent of the vote, Ouattara received 32.08 percent, and Bédié came in third with 25.24 percent. Because no one received a majority, a run-off between Gbagbo and Ouattara was scheduled for November 28. Ouattara and Bédié had sworn previously to support each other in any run-off with Gbagbo, forming a coalition, along with minor political parties, known as the Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (Rassemblement des Houphouétistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix, RHDP). It was unclear, however, whether their coalition would hold—given the personal history between the two and the longstanding marginalization of northerners by Bédié’s PDCI and Gbagbo’s FPI.
On December 2, Youssouf Bakayoko, president of the Independent Electoral Commission (Commission Electorale Indépendante, CEI), announced that Ouattara won the run-off with 54.1 percent of the votes. Monitoring groups, including the European Union and Carter Center, considered the election mostly free and fair, citing only a few irregularities. Fewer than 24 hours after the CEI’s decision, Paul Yao N’Dre, president of the Constitutional Council and a close ally of Gbagbo, overturned the Commission’s results on behalf of the Council and proclaimed Gbagbo the victor with 51.45 percent of the votes. The Council declared that the electoral commission had failed to meet the three-day deadline to announce the results—ignoring that Gbagbo allies on the commission had blocked the announcement, including by ripping up results in front of cameras.The Constitutional Council annulled hundreds of thousands of ballots from northern regions, where Ouattara drew significant support, based on alleged voting irregularities.
On December 3, in accordance with procedures outlined in UN Security Council resolution 1765 and political agreements signed by conflict’s protagonists, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Choi Young-Jin, certified the electoral commission’s results and confirmed Ouattara as the winner. He also “certified that the Constitutional Council’s proclamation [that Gbagbo won] was not based on facts.” The UN Secretary-General and Security Council endorsed Ouattara’s victory, which was further recognized by the African Union, ECOWAS, the EU, and the US.
On December 4, Gbagbo was quickly sworn in as president by the Constitutional Council; Ouattara soon followed with his own inauguration. Both appointed prime ministers and cabinets. A stand-off began, with Gbagbo operating from government buildings, and Ouattara functioning from Abidjan’s Golf Hotel. International bodies called repeatedly on Gbagbo to step down. In late December, ECOWAS threatened the possibility of military intervention, although the African Union—with members like Angola and the Gambia stating their public support for Gbagbo and others like South Africa and Ghana expressing some sympathy with Gbagbo—quickly pushed back against ECOWAS playing the lead African role in resolving the crisis. ECOWAS president Victor Gbeho expressed frustration at one stage with several African nations who were “calling for the marginalization of ECOWAS,” and “undermining” the body’s efforts to remove Gbagbo.
On January 28, the African Union established a high-level panel to try to break the impasse.  Originally tasked with presenting recommendations within a month, its mandate was extended on February 28.  On March 10, the African Union again endorsed Ouattara’s victory and said that Gbagbo should leave power.  Gbagbo’s camp rejected the decision, and armed forces from both sides threatened the imminence of civil war. 
Faced with Gbagbo’s persistent refusal to cede power, the international community applied financial pressure. The EU and US implemented targeted financial and travel restrictions against Gbagbo and many of his close allies; the EU further sanctioned entities, including financial institutions and the Abidjan port, which were seen to keep the regime financially solvent. The West African central bank also cut off Côte d’Ivoire’s accounts in an attempt to further financially strangulate Gbagbo. He responded by commandeering banks—and allegedly robbing accessible money—after many suspended their operations.
Nevertheless, Gbagbo continued to defy escalating diplomatic and financial pressure. The Republican Forces—led by Ouattara’s Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro, and comprised primarily of the Forces Nouvelles soldiers who had controlled northern Côte d’Ivoire for a decade—launched a military offensive in late February. Less than two months later, they had taken over almost all of the country, and on April 11, they arrested Gbagbo. The six months of post-election violence—which were the culmination of 15 years of complete impunity and the increasing manipulation of ethnicity—left a heavy human cost. By the end of hostilities in May, more than 3,000 civilians had been killed and more than 150 women had been raped in that six-month period alone.
There were several episodes of repression against ethnic groups from southern Côte d’Ivoire during his rule, notably in 1966 against the Agni and in 1970 against the Bété. See Tiemoko Coulibaly, “Lente décomposition en Côte d’Ivoire,” Le Monde Diplomatique, November 2002; Jean-Pierre Dozon, “La Côte d’Ivoire entre Démocratie, Nationalisme et Ethnonationalisme,” Politique Africaine: Côte d’Ivoire, la tentation ethnonationaliste, No. 78, June 2000, pp. 45-62.
 Phil Clark, “Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo: From democrat to dictator,” BBC News, April 11, 2011. See also Marcus Boni Teiga, “Fin de partie pour Gbagbo,” SlateAfrique, April 11, 2011.
 Phil Clark, “Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo: From democrat to dictator”; Marcus Boni Teiga, “Fin de partie pour Gbagbo.”
While Ouattara had included foreign nationals in key posts—notably Sidya Touré, later Guinea’s prime minister; and Pascal Koupaki, now Benin’s prime minister—Gbagbo was mostly targeting Ouattara himself. Daniel Schwartz, “Alassane Ouattara: Inaugurated as Ivory Coast president after long standoff with former leader,” CBC News, May 21, 2011; Marcus Boni Teiga, “Fin de partie pour Gbagbo,” SlateAfrique, April 11, 2011.
 Daniel Schwartz, “Alassane Ouattara: Inaugurated as Ivory Coast president after long standoff with former leader,” CBC News, May 21, 2011; Phil Clark, “Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo: From democrat to dictator”; Marcus Boni Teiga, “Fin de partie pour Gbagbo.”
 Phil Clark, “Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo: From democrat to dictator”; Marcus Boni Teiga, “Fin de partie pour Gbagbo”. Gbagbo was ultimately released on July 31, 1992, after pressure by French members of the Socialist party and human rights groups like Amnesty International.
 A succinct review of this period can be found in Thomas Hofnung, La Crise Ivoirienne: Dix clés pour comprendre (Paris: La Découverte, 2005), pp. 29-31. See also International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: ‘The War is Not Yet Over,” ICG Africa Report No. 72, November 28, 2003, pp. 2-3.
Daniel Schwartz, “Alassane Ouattara: Inaugurated as Ivory Coast president after long standoff with former leader,” CBC News, May 21, 2011; Guillaume Guguen, “Alassane Ouattara’s political baptism by fire,” France 24, May 12, 2010; Africa Confidential, “Côte d’Ivoire: The National Question,” Vol. 41, no. 13, June 23, 2000. By the time Ouattara took over as governor of the BCEAO in 1988, he was using an Ivorian passport. Guillaume Guguen, “Alassane Ouattara’s political baptism by fire,” France 24, May 12, 2010. Ouattara has said that the diplomatic passport from Upper Volta was not a reflection of his nationality. Africa Confidential, “Côte d’Ivoire: The National Question,” Vol. 41, no. 13, June 23, 2000.
 Daniel Schwartz, “Alassane Ouattara: Inaugurated as Ivory Coast president after long standoff with former leader,” CBC News, May 21, 2011; Human Rights Watch, The New Racism: The Political Manipulation of Ethnicity in Côte d’Ivoire, vol. 13, no. 6(A), August 2001, http://www.hrw.org/node/78097; Human Rights Watch, Trapped Between Two Wars: Violence against Civilians in Western Côte d’Ivoire, vol. 15, no. 14 (A), August 2003, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2003/08/05/trapped-between-two-wars; International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” p. 6.
 In targeting Ouattara, the Constitution as amended stipulated, “The candidate for the presidency must … be of Ivorian origin, born of father and mother who are also of Ivorian origin. He must never have renounced his Ivorian nationality, nor have ever claimed he was of another nationality.” Constitution of Côte d’Ivoire, Chapter III: The President of the Republic and the Government, 2000, art. 35. For discussion of Guei’s manipulation of the referendum process, see International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” p. 7.
The Supreme Court, which had in 1999 been dissolved following the coup, was widely believed to have been handpicked by Guei. Human Rights Watch, The New Racism.
 Human Rights Watch, The New Racism.
 Human Rights Watch, Trapped Between Two Wars; Human Rights Watch, The New Racism.
 On the morning of the coup attempt, gendarmes killed former junta leader Robert Gueï, his wife, and several others in his Abidjan residence. International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” p. 11.
 The Movement for Justice and Peace (Mouvement Pour la Justice et la Paix, MJP) and the Ivorian Popular Movement for the Far West (Mouvement Populaire Ivoirien du Grand Ouest, MPIGO).
 Human Rights Watch, Trapped Between Two Wars; Human Rights Watch, “Because they have guns … I’m left with nothing”: The Price of Continuing Impunity in Côte d’Ivoire,vol. 18, no. 4 (A), May 25, 2006, http://www.hrw.org/node/11314. For a discussion of Gbagbo-led policies that discriminated against northern Ivorians and immigrants, see International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” pp. 7-8.
 Human Rights Watch, Trapped Between Two Wars; Human Rights Watch, Government Abuses in Response to Army Revolt, vol. 14, no.9(A), November 28, 2002; “Des centaines de soldats ont investi hier des bidonvilles,” Le jour, December 12, 2002, p.2.
 International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” p. 15; Amnesty International, Côte d’Ivoire: A succession of unpunished crimes, February 27, 2003.
 Human Rights Watch, Trapped Between Two Wars; Human Rights Watch, Youth, Poverty and Blood: The Lethal Legacy of West Africa’s Regional Warriors, vol. 17, no. 5(A), April 2005, http://www.hrw.org/node/11796; International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” pp. 21-25.
 Human Rights Watch, Trapped Between Two Wars; Human Rights Watch, Child Soldier Use 2003: A Briefing for the 4th UN Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, January 29, 2004, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/01/16/child-soldier-use-2003; International Crisis Group, Côte d’Ivoire: “The War is Not Yet Over,” pp. 21-27.
 Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Violations in Abidjan during an Opposition Demonstration – March 2004, October 14, 2004, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2004/10/14/human-rights-violations-abidjan-during-opposition-demonstration-march-2004; See also Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Events Connected with the March Planned for 25 March 2004 in Abidjan,” April 29, 2004 (finding “the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians and the committing of massive human rights violations,”as “the march became a pretext for what turned out to be a carefully planned and executed operation by the security forces … under the direction and responsibility of the highest authorities of the State.” The commission recommended that “[c]riminal investigations before an independent court should be carried out with a view to prosecuting those responsible … i.e. the commanders of the special units involved within the security forces of Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the so-called parallel forces.”No credible investigation or prosecution was ever undertaken by Gbagbo’s judicial authorities.).
Human Rights Watch, “The Best School,” Student Violence, Impunity, and the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, May 21, 2008, http://www.hrw.org/node/62207; Human Rights Watch, “Because they have guns … I’m left with nothing.”
Human Rights Watch, Afraid and Forgotten: Lawlessness, Rape, and Impunity in Côte d’Ivoire, October 22, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/node/93700; Human Rights Watch, “Because they have guns … I’m left with nothing”; Human Rights Watch, Country on a Precipice: The Precarious State of Human Rights and Civilian Protection in Côte d’Ivoire, May 3, 2005, http://www.hrw.org/node/11761.
Human Rights Watch, “My Heart Is Cut”: Sexual Violence by Rebels and Pro-Government Forces in Côte d’Ivoire, August 2007, http://www.hrw.org/node/10803; Human Rights Watch, Afraid and Forgotten.
 These include the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement organized by France’s president and signed in January 2003; the Accra II Agreement organized by ECOWAS and signed in March 2003; the Accra III Agreement organized by ECOWAS and the UN Secretary-General and signed in July 2004; and the Pretoria Agreement, organized by the African Union and signed in April 2005.
Force Licorne was originally deployed to Côte d’Ivoire in September 2002 to protect French nationals as the coup d’état unfolded. It was soon tasked with also supporting the cease-fire between the government and rebels and the efforts of the peacekeeping operation. After the Ouagadougou Political Agreement (OPA), Force Licorne was explicitly mandated with supporting UNOCI in the implementation of the OPA. Force Licorne steadily reduced its troop commitment from 2004 on, maintaining about 900 soldiers in Côte d’Ivoire by the eve of the 2010 presidential elections. République Française, Ministère de la Défense et des Anciens Combattants, “Les forces françaises en Côte d’Ivoire,” July 7, 2011, http://www.defense.gouv.fr/operations/cote-d-ivoire/dossier/ (accessed August 27, 2011).
African Union Peace and Security Council, “Communiqué of the 73rd Meeting of the Peace and Security Council on the Situation in Côte d’Ivoire,” PSC/PR/Comm.2 (LXXIII), March 19, 2007; and UN Security Council, “Presidential Statement: The situation in Côte d’Ivoire,” U.N. Doc. S/PRST/2007/8, March 28, 2007, http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_pres_statements07.htm (accessed September 3, 2010).
See “Les « audiences foraines » embrasent la Côte d’Ivoire,” Le Figaro, July 25, 2006; Adam Nossiter, “Many in Ivory Coast May Be Left Out From Vote,” New York Times, February 7, 2010; and Ange Aboa, “Security forces kill protestors in Ivory Coast,” Reuters, February 19, 2010.
 The OPA, and its fourth supplementary agreement signed on December 30, 2008, laid out the process for going to elections. Among its preconditions, it called for the disarmament and demobilization of militia groups and the Forces Nouvelles; and the full redeployment of state authorities to the north, where the Forces Nouvelles maintained control. See Ouagadougou Political Agreement, March 4, 2007; Fourth Supplementary Agreement to the Ouagadougou Political Agreement, December 22, 2008. By mid-2010, these conditions had still not been met–because of Gbagbo’s stalling and because of the lack of trust among the Forces Nouvelles that Gbagbo would ever step down.
 UN Department of Public Information Strategic Communications Division, Côte d’Ivoire Presidential Elections: Fact Sheet 25 November 2010.
Reuters, “Timeline: U.N. rejects Gbagbo win in Ivorian poll”, December 3, 2010.
 Associated Press, “Council declares Gbagbo winner of Ivory Coast poll,” December 3, 2010; Archie Bland, “Leader’s backers rip up ‘fraudulent’ Ivory Coast election result,” The Independent (UK), December 2, 2010.
 Y.J. Choi, “Statement on the certification of the result of the second round of the presidential election held on 28 November 2010,” December 3, 2010. See also Vijay Nambiar, “Dear President Mbeki: The United Nations Helped Save the Ivory Coast,” Foreign Policy, August 17, 2010.
 Y.J. Choi, “Statement on the Second Round of the Presidential Election Held on 28 November 2010,” December 8, 2010.
 African Union, “Communiqué of the 252nd Meeting of the Peace and Security Council”, December 9, 2010.
 ECOWAS, “Final communiqué on the extraordinary session of the authority of heads of state and government on Côte d’Ivoire,” December 7, 2010.
 Scott Stearns, “ECOWAS: S. Africa Undermining Ivory Coast Mediation,” VOA News, February 9, 2011.
 African Union, “Communiqué of the 259th Meeting of the Peace and Security Council,” January 28, 2011, para. 6.
 Peter Heinlein, “African Union Declines Action Against Libya,” VOA News, February 28, 2011.
 African Union, “Communiqué of the 265th Meeting of the Peace and Security Council,” March 10, 2011.
 Scott Stearns, “Aide Says Gbagbo Rejects AU Endorsement of Ouattara as Ivory Coast Leader,” VOA News, March 11, 2011; Reuters, “Ivorian rebels say only force can remove Gbagbo,” March 10, 2011; Reuters, “Gbagbo camp rejects Ivorian plan and warns of war,” March 10, 2011.
 Jennifer Freedman and Olivier Monnier, “Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo Faces Financial ‘Asphyxia’ as Sanctions Begin to Bite,” Bloomberg, January 21, 2011; Reuters, “Government in Ivory Coast Seizes Banks,” February 17, 2011.