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World Court Accepts Senegal's Pledge to Keep Habre Under House Arrest


The World Court has accepted Senegal's pledge that it will keep former Chadian president Hissene Habre under house arrest while he awaits trial for alleged human rights abuses.

Belgium had asked the court to order Senegal to keep Mr. Habre in custody, citing fears he could escape and go into hiding.

However, the court - formally known as the International Court of Justice - ruled Thursday in The Hague that no such order is necessary. It said Senegal has given assurances it will not allow Mr. Habre to leave its territory.

A Chadian inquiry found that Mr. Habre was responsible for 40,000 political killings during his eight years as president. He has lived in Senegal since being toppled from power in 1990.

Belgium requested court action after Senegal's president Abdoulaye Wade said he might lift Mr. Habre's house arrest if the international community does not provide complete funding for his trial.

Senegal says the remarks were taken out of context.

Mr. Habre was indicted in Senegal in 2000, but the courts initially ruled he could not be tried there. The Belgian government says Senegal has ignored its repeated requests to bring charges against Mr. Habre or to extradite him to Belgium for trial.

In 2005, Belgium charged Mr. Habre with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture under its "universal jurisdiction" law that allows it to prosecute serious foreign crimes.

Senegal, at the urging of the African Union, says it will try Mr. Habre on African soil.




Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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