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Hisséne Habré trial at the Extraordinary African Chambers in the courts of Senegal

Mr. Hisséne Habré, former president of Chad © AFP/GETTY

 

Chad’s exiled former president Hisséne Habré is set to stand trial for crimes allegedly committed during his time as president, 1982 until he was deposed in 1990. Hisséne Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture; and has been living in exile in Senegal since he was deposed from Chad. The trial of Hisséne Habré has been scheduled for May 2015 at the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegalese courts.

The Extraordinary African Chambers in the courts of Senegal charged Hissène Habré with crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes and placed him in pre-trial detention on the 2nd of July 2013. The Extraordinary African Chambers is a “special ad hoc procedure of an international character” within the Senegalese judicial system which was set-up pursuant to an agreement between Senegal and the African Union. It was created to prosecute international crimes committed in Chad between 7 June 1982 and 1 December 1990. The international character of the Extraordinary African Chambers accorded Senegalese courts jurisdiction to try Hissène Habré for crimes committed abroad in Chad. This is significant since a lack of jurisdiction of Senegalese courts is one of the reasons for the delay in the trial of Hissène Habré.

Two officials from Hissène Habré’s administration are also set to stand trial and have been indicted in Chad over international crimes allegedly committed, in Chad, during their terms in office. Chadian courts are set to try the two co-accused officials from Hissène Habré’s administration.

Civil Society has welcomed the trial of Hissène Habré and the co-accused by the Extraordinary African Chambers and Chadian courts respectively.  Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) has also signed the Human Rights Watch open letter expressing support for the Hissène Habré trial and an Africa that fights impunity.

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