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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid