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Truth first, reconciliation later?

BBC Africa HYS Team | 13:50 UK time, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Amnesty International has released a report accusing both sides of war crimes during Ivory Coast's recent post-election crisis. Will it help or hinder nation building?

The Amnesty report speaks of a long period of "amnesia" in Ivory Coast during which "successive governments have deliberately refused to accept their responsibility to fight impunity".

And an Ivoirian political observer told the BBC that "Ivorian politicians have a long history of avoiding the real issues facing the country. And that's dangerous because sooner or later, these issues of Ivoirite and national identity could explode again."

But at a time when peace has so recently been restored, is it helpful to start apportioning blame so soon? What should be prioritised, justice or reconciliation? Can Ivory Coast learn from the experience of other nations such as Kenya and Sierra Leone?

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