News / Africa

    Former President of Chad Charged With Crimes Against Humanity

    Mbacke Fall (R), head of the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special court set up this year by Senegalese authorities in agreement with the African Union, speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, July 1, 2013.
    Mbacke Fall (R), head of the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special court set up this year by Senegalese authorities in agreement with the African Union, speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, July 1, 2013.
    Anne Look
    Chad's ex-president Hissene Habre has been indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture by a special African tribunal. Habre has lived in Dakar, Senegal, since being ousted by a coup in 1990.  

    The judge of the Extraordinary African Chambers - created in Senegal to try Habre - has ordered the ex-president held in prison until his trial.

    Habre was arrested Sunday. He has been formally charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, which allegedly occurred during his presidency in Chad from 1982 to 1990.  

    Chief prosecutor Mbacke Fall said investigators have assembled strong evidence of Habre's direct involvement in these crimes. He said Habre put in place a machine of repression in 1983 that was known as the DDS, the political police. He said Habre named the agents himself, and their only job was to obtain information by violent means.  

    Fall said the prosecution has statements from victims, as well as documentation from the Habre regime. He said Habre regularly received written reports from his agents, and made notes on these reports and gave instructions.

    Fall said the DDS was created to secure the country from outside threats, but Habre turned it against his perceived political opponents and members of certain ethnic and racial groups.

    In 2001, Human Rights Watch uncovered DDS files that name 1,208 people who died or were killed in detention and 12,321 victims of human rights violations.

    Habre is accused of overseeing thousands of political killings, summary executions of hundreds of war prisoners and large-scale torture of detainees.

    An attorney for Habre told reporters Tuesday the charges are the result of an improper judicial investigation because prosecutors in Senegal relied on information supplied by the Chadian government. A Chadian court sentenced Habre to death in absentia in 2008.

    The trial in Senegal has been more than a decade in the making.

    Senegal indicted Hissene Habre in 2000 and put him under house arrest at his Dakar mansion. Efforts to try him then stalled over disputes about jurisdiction and issues such as getting international funding.

    It was just this February that Senegal set up the internationally-backed Extraordinary African Chambers within its justice system to investigate and try the case.

    The trial could set a landmark legal precedent for sub-Saharan African courts trying African leaders on the continent.

    Pre-trial investigations are expected to last about 15 months, meaning the trial may not begin until early 2015.

    Prosecutors from the Extraordinary Chambers say they also are pursuing charges against five other top members of the Habre regime, including the head of the DDS, Mahamat Djibrine, who was arrested in Chad in May.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mustapha Malwa from: Kome-847
    July 03, 2013 2:11 PM
    Why this trial was taking a long time all people of are waiting for this trial, many people now were passed away. please i need the gornment of Senegal and United Africa should take action.

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora