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 Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora