News / Africa

Former Chadian Leader to Face Trial in Senegal

Exiled Chadian dictator Hissene Habre has lived in Senegal since 1993. He remains under nominal house arrest, pending trial for overseeing the killings and torture of Chadians in detention during the 1980's.Exiled Chadian dictator Hissene Habre has lived in Senegal since 1993. He remains under nominal house arrest, pending trial for overseeing the killings and torture of Chadians in detention during the 1980's.
x
Exiled Chadian dictator Hissene Habre has lived in Senegal since 1993. He remains under nominal house arrest, pending trial for overseeing the killings and torture of Chadians in detention during the 1980's.
Exiled Chadian dictator Hissene Habre has lived in Senegal since 1993. He remains under nominal house arrest, pending trial for overseeing the killings and torture of Chadians in detention during the 1980's.
James Butty
A lawyer for the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch says he has confidence in the commitment of Senegal’s new president, Macky Sall, to put former Chadian President Hissène Habré on trial in Senegal. 

This comes after it was announced late Wednesday that Senegal and the African Union have signed an agreement to set up a special tribunal to try Habré, who is accused of murdering more than 40,000 people during his eight-year rule. 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled last month that Senegal had to act quickly to put Habré on trial or extradite him to Belgium to stand trial at the ICJ.

Human rights lawyer Reed Brody who said he has been working with victims of the former Chadian leader for 13 years, said the news of a special tribunal means that Habré may soon face justice for his crimes.

“This is an important agreement. This brings us one step closer to Hissène Habré’s trial, and it is an important step to the long campaign that victims of Hissène Habré have been waging to bring him to justice,” he said.

Belgium issued an arrest warrant against Habré in 2005, after a Belgian of Chadian origin filed a complaint against him under Belgium’s “universal competence” law.

The law allows those accused of crimes under international law, which have affected Belgians, to be tried in Belgium.

Butty interview with Brody
Butty interview with Brodyi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

But after nearly 12 years, Senegal, which had said it was willing to try Habré in Senegal failed to do so.

The International Court of Justice ruled last month that Senegal had to act quickly to put Habré on trial or extradite him to Belgium to stand trial at the ICJ.

Brody said he is sure the new Senegalese government under Macky Sall would live up to its international obligation.

“The new government of Senegal under Macky Sall has been committed  to bringing Habré to justice. So this responds to that decision, but it also reflects, I believe, a new willingness on the part of the Senegalese government to live up to its international obligation and to bring Habré to justice,” Brody said.

He said the special tribunal that will try Habre would include Senegalese and other African judges.

“The agreement calls for what are known as extraordinary African chambers within the existing Senegalese court structure with sections to handle investigations, trial and appeal. And the trial court and appeal court will each consist of two Senegalese judges and the president from another African country,” he said.

An ex-prisoner of the former Chadian president told VOA in July there can be no reconciliation until Habré is finally put on trial.

Clement Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of the Crimes of Hissène Habré said victims of Habré have been frustrated with Senegal’s delay in putting the former Chadian leader on trial.

Brody agreed that many victims had been discouraged with Senegal, but he said unlike its predecessor,  the Macky Sall government is determined to put the former Chadian leader trial.

“As you know, Senegal had really toyed with the victims’ hope for so many years. Bishop Desmond Tutu referred to it is a political and legal soap opera to which the victims had been subject. So there’s a lot of mistrust of Senegal, and it’s going to be important for the government to move quickly and expediently to show that this time it means it,” Brody said.

Senegal’s Justice Minister Aminata Toure said after signing the agreement that “we are moving resolutely towards the holding of the trial.”

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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