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Former Chadian President Hissène Habré Appeals Against War Crimes Conviction

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Former Chadian president, Hissène Habré was convicted last May of crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and was personally found guilty of rape. © The Guardian

On Monday 9 January 2017, former Chadian president Hissène Habré’s lawyers launched an appeal against his conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) within the courts of Senegal. The lawyers are of the view that the trial of Habré contained irregularities, and that the credibility of some witnesses should be questioned. Habré’s lawyers argued that his trial had been politically motivated and unfair, and focused more on his life sentence than on the conviction.

On 30 May 2016, Habré was convicted by the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Senegal for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during his rule over Chad from 1982 until he was deposed in December 1990.

The conviction was the culmination of a three-decade battle for justice led by Chadian victims, including Souleymane Guengueng, who suffered in one of the notorious jails in Chad for years, and vowed that when he got out he would right the wrongs he and his fellow inmates had suffered. Guengueng spent years collecting victims’ testimonies.

Reed Brody, a campaigner and lawyer who fought for justice alongside the victims since 1999, and who played an important role in the conviction by discovering a tranche of evidence against Habré, comments that the latest developments were not surprising. He expresses that he is more concerned with how Habré’s victims would be compensated for their suffering. The trial chamber ordered Habré to pay millions of dollars, up to 30,000 euros per victim, in reparations to the victims though none have received anything. Brody’s other concern was that the Senegalese government might issue Habré a pardon, something the country’s justice minister mentioned was a possibility immediately after his conviction.

To coincide with the Habré judgement on 30 May 2016, AFLA convened a 2 day seminar, “Complementarity, the Habré Trial and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction”, in Dakar Senegal.

To read AFLA’s Seminar Report on Complementarity, the Hissène Habré Trial, and the Evolution of Universal Jurisdiction, that coincided with Habré’s conviction, click here.

(Source: The Guardian)

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