News / Africa

Chad Arrests Accused Ex-President's Police Chief

Map of Chad, Africa
Map of Chad, Africa

Location

Borkou, Chad
Anne Look
Chadian justice officials are questioning and arresting associates of ex-Chadian president Hissene Habre who are accused of torturing and killing political opponents during Habre's eight years in power.   Habre fled to Dakar in 1990 after being ousted in a military coup. The flurry of activity in Chad comes just months after Senegal launched a long-awaited special tribunal to try the former president for crimes against humanity "on behalf of Africa."

Chadian justice officials have arrested former police chief Mahamat Djibrine.

He served under ex-Chadian president Hissene Habre, as head of the feared political police, the Directorate of Documentation and Service, or DDS.  Human rights activists say the DDS was involved in the brutal torture and killing of opponents of the Habre regime, as well as other atrocities including waves of ethnic cleansing.

Chadian human rights activist and attorney Jacqueline Moudeïna says Djibrine's name was part of a list of 47 Habre associates that she filed with authorities on Oct. 26, 2000, as part of 17 official complaints by victims of abuses under the Habre regime.  

She says it is that lawsuit that was the basis of Djibrine's arrest Wednesday, almost 13 years later.  

Moudeïna says they are welcoming this recent action not so much with joy, because there haven't been any judgments yet, but rather with a sort of satisfaction that at least something is being done. Better that the accused be brought in for questioning, that they be worried, she says, than nothing at all.

Chadian officials have reportedly issued international arrest warrants for four other Mr. Habre associates and continue to question more.

But why now?  

Some say it reflects a renewed political will within Chad to heal the wounds of the past.  Others say the establishment in February of the special tribunal in Senegal to try Habre, who was first indicted in 2000, was a catalyst to the start of judicial proceedings back home.  

However, human rights lawyers working on the Habre case in Senegal say investigations into his accomplices in Chad are not directly linked to the case being prepared against the former president in Dakar.  

Moudeïna says this has always been the strategy: to go after Hissene Habre on the international stage and to focus within Chad on going after his accomplices, who she says should be tried in Chad to send a strong message against impunity.

Activists say the case against Habre in Senegal would set a landmark legal precedent of African courts judging African leaders.

But Moudeïna says they can't stop there.  

She says thousands of people worked in Habre's repressive machine.  She says investigations into Habre's regime point to 40,000 people killed and that was not the work of just a few people.

Habre denies the charges against him.  No date has been announced for the start of the Habre trial in Senegal.

You May Like

Mugabe Dismisses Male-Female Equality

'It is not possible that women can be at par with men' incoming African Union president declares on eve of summit More

Somali Terror Suspect's Light Sentence Raises Questions

Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, could have spent 15 years in prison but judge instead sentenced him to a halfway house, and a program to try to integrate him back into the community More

Video Kobani Ravaged Following Kurdish Ouster of IS Militants

Even so, hundreds of refugees sheltering in Turkey seek to return; Kurdish forces hold some back, saying fighting continues More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid