In Memoriam: Issiaka Diaby, a Pillar of Ivorian Civil Society

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read
Issiaka Diaby

The Ivorian civil society mourned the passing of Issiaka Diaby, a revered figure, at the Angré Teaching Hospital in Cocody. Diaby, who succumbed following a leg surgery, was widely acknowledged for his pivotal role as a spokesperson for a collective of victims affected by the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011 in Côte d’Ivoire. His demise marks the conclusion of an era, leaving behind a legacy of relentless advocacy for justice and unwavering support for those impacted by the tumultuous events of the past.

As the founder and leader of the Collectif des Victimes de Ivory Coast (CVCI), Diaby rose to prominence in the aftermath of the post-electoral crisis, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives within five months. His dynamic media campaigns on behalf of the CVCI, coupled with his steadfast commitment to guiding victims through legal proceedings, positioned him as a prominent and influential figure in Ivorian civil society.

Nevertheless, Diaby’s advocacy for victims was not without controversy. Accusations of alignment with ruling powers and criticism for seemingly advocating exclusively for victims from the Gbagbo camp surrounded him. Notably, Diaby testified against former President Laurent Gbagbo and his close associate, Charles Blé Goudé, during their trial at The Hague. Expressing dissatisfaction with Gbagbo’s acquittal by the International Criminal Court in 2021, Diaby foresaw potential fragility within the court’s mechanisms, emphasizing that the ICC “risks being a giant with feet of clay.”

In the wake of Gbagbo’s release, Diaby vehemently opposed the former president’s return to Côte d’Ivoire, later calling for his immediate imprisonment upon arrival in Abidjan. Beyond the political realm, Diaby expanded his engagements in recent years, shedding light on issues such as counterfeit construction materials, specifically substandard reinforcing bars linked to fatal building collapses in Abidjan—an ongoing investigation.

The passing of Issiaka Diaby leaves an irreplaceable void in Ivorian civil society. His legacy, defined by tireless advocacy for justice, accountability, and the well-being of victims, will endure. As the nation reflects on his contributions, the challenges and intricacies stemming from the post-electoral period continue to shape the narrative of Ivory Coast’s recent history.


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