News / Africa

Senegal Urged to End Delay of Habré Extradition

Clement Abaifouta, president of the Habre Victims’ Association says he’s disappointed in a Dakar court's decision not to extradite Habre

File photo taken on 21 Oct 1989 shows then-Chadian President Hissene Habre on an official visit in Paris.
File photo taken on 21 Oct 1989 shows then-Chadian President Hissene Habre on an official visit in Paris.

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

A coalition of human rights organizations is calling on the Senegal to stop delaying the extradition of former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré to Belgium.

Tuesday, January 10, the Court of Appeals of Dakar ruled a Belgian extradition request was inadmissible because legal papers submitted by the Senegalese government were not in order, the second such decision in six months.

Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture when he ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990 before fleeing to Senegal.

Clement Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of Crimes of the Regime of Hissene Habre, said he is disappointed in the Senegalese court’s decision not to extradite the former Chadian leader.

”I think it is a big decision for all the victims like me to know that Senegal refused again to extradite Hissene Habre to Belgium.  I don’t know why [Senegalese President] Abdoulaye Wade is playing this game by refusing to extradite Habre,” he said.

Abaifouta said the Dakar Court of Appeals would not have ruled the way it did without President Wade’s approval.

“Since 12 years ago, we have been dealing with this case.  I know that it is the president who does not want for this extradition to happen because, as you know in Africa, the head of state always makes all the decisions,” Abaifouta said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to report to Congress by February 6th on “steps” the Senegalese government has taken to assist in bringing Habre to justice.

According to the International Committee for the Fair Trial of Hissene Habre, the U.S. Congress last December expressed concern that the former Chadian leader has not been extradited for prosecution.

Abaifouta said he hopes Congress will tell President Wade to respect his international obligation to extradite Habre.

“I know that, according to the law, Senegal has the right to judge or to extradite [Habre],” he said.

Abaifouta said he spent four years in Habre’s jails for unspecified charges, and during that time he was forced to dig graves for more than 500 fellow inmates.

“They arrested me in July 1985, and I was freed in 1990 February.  I was in prison for four years.  I’m waiting to ask Hissene Habre for what reason he arrested me,” Abaifouta said.

Habré was first indicted in Senegal in 2000, but after political interference by the Senegalese government that was denounced by two UN human rights rapporteurs, the country’s courts said that he could not be tried there.

His victims then filed a case in Belgium. After years of investigation, in September 2005, a Belgian judge requested Habre’s extradition.

Senegal asked the African Union (AU) to recommend a course of action, and in July 2006, the AU called on Senegal to prosecute Habré “on behalf of Africa.”

In May 2011, Senegal walked out of talks with the AU over the trial and made clear that it would not prosecute Habré. On July 10, President Abdoulaye Wade reversed a decision announced two days earlier to expel Habré to Chad, where he has been sentenced to death in absentia.

Belgium made a second extradition request on March 15, 2011. On August 18, the Dakar Appeals court declared the request inadmissible on the ground that the extradition request was not accompanied by the underlying papers, such as the Belgian arrest warrant, and had not been properly filed.

On September 5, Belgium filed a third request, and on January 10, 2012, the Court of Appeals again declared the request inadmissible on procedural grounds, stating that the 2005 arrest warrant attached to the extradition request was not an authentic copy.

Belgian officials have assured the Committee that the warrant handed to the Senegalese ministry of foreign affairs on September 5 was correctly certified by the Brussels district court, the Ministry of Justice, and the minister of Foreign Affairs.

The International Committee for the Fair Trial of Hissene Habre said it expects Belgium to file a new extradition request as soon as possible.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs