Osange Silou-Kieffer, the wife of Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer missing in Côte d’Ivoire, received an assurance from President Alassane Ouattara yesterday that no-one would be protected in the investigation into her husband’s disappearance.
Visiting Abidjan, the country’s business capital, to mark the eighth anniversary of his disappearance, Silou-Kieffer and a Reporters Without Borders representative met Ouattara to tell him of their concern at the lack of progress in the investigation and to ask Ivoirian leaders for an assurance of their desire to get to the bottom of the case.
“I can assure you no-one will be protected,” Ouattara told them at the meeting.
A year after the change of government in Côte d’Ivoire, they believe the investigation is not progressing quickly enough and does not have enough resources or political will invested in it.
The journalist’s family and Reporters Without Borders, a registered civil party in the investigation, recognize that a French examining magistrate investigating the case was allowed to work unhindered when he visited Côte d’Ivoire, but they believe more needed to be done and are calling for genuine cooperation between the judicial systems of the two countries.
In particular, they want the Ivoirian side to devote resources to the case and conduct its own investigation so that progress can be made between visits by the French magistrate.
In this regard, Silou-Kieffer and Reporters Without Borders called on the authorities to:
Create a special investigation commission or a joint investigation unit with the French magistrate.
Resurrect to the joint monitoring committee of the French and Canadian embassies and the Ivoirian justice ministry set up in 2004.
Ensure that the people mentioned in connection with the case are questioned again in the best possible conditions, so that the truth can be established.
Ivoirian authorities have indicated they are in favour of these proposals. The offices of the prime minister and minister of state for justice must work with the president of the Bar and the lawyer for the civil parties in the case, Joachim Bile-Aka, as well as with the French examining magistrate, Patrick Ramaël.
Video : Osange Kieffer met Prime minister Jeannot Ahoussou
During their visit to Abidjan from 14 to 17 April, Osange Silou-Kieffer and Ambroise Pierre, head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa Desk, met the Ivoirian president, as well as Prime Minister Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio, who is also minister of justice, and the minister of state, Loma Cissé Matto. They also had talks with the communications minister, Souleymane Coty Diakité, the president of the Bar, Joachim Bile-Aka, and the French and Canadian ambassadors. They also met the directors-general of the publicly-owned radio and television authority RTI and the state-run newspaper Fraternité Matin, as well as several Ivoirian journalists. The Reporters Without Borders representative also met the secretary-general of the National Press Council, the press regulatory body, and the interior ministry spokeswoman, Nina Bintou Touré.
Photo : Ambroise Pierre, Osange Silou-Kieffer and Alassane Ouattara (Stephane Goué)