Justice for Chadian Victims

Former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré is escorted by military officers after being heard by a judge in Dakar, Senegal, on July 2, 2013.© 2013 Getty Images

Silence has finally broken and victims share their experiences of torture during the reign of the former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré.  Habré’s government is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture, the reports. It took two decades of campaigning before Senegal and the African Union agreed to try crimes allegedly committed under Habre’s regime.

The lead case lawyer for the victims, Jacqueline Moudenia is reported to have guided the victims since 2000.  Souleymane Guengueng, activist and torture survivor of the Hissène Habré regime said “It took 24 years, but I finally got to face down the man who threw me in prison”. Guengueng said when he began his campaign, “everyone thought that I was crazy.” But now, he says, “we are showing them that justice is possible.”

Background:  Habré one-party rule, from 1982 to 1990, was marked by widespread atrocities, including the targeting of certain ethnic groups. The Directorate of Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS) files recovered by Human Rights Watch in 2001 reveal the names of 1,208 people who were killed or died in detention, and 12,321 victims of human rights violations. Habré was deposed in 1990 by the current president, Idriss Déby Itno. Habré fled to Senegal and lived there in exile. He was indicted by the Extraordinary African Chambers in July 2013 and placed in pretrial detention. Source: Human Rights Watch.


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