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Senegal, AU Finalize Plan to Try Chad's Habre

Presiding judge of the Court Peter Tomka (eighth from left) reads the verdict at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, July 20, 2012, ordering the prosecution of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre.
Senegal and the African Union have finalized a deal to create a special court to put former Chadian President Hissene Habre on trial for war crimes charges.

The agreement comes a month after the United Nations' highest court ordered Senegal to either prosecute Habre or extradite him.

A Chad truth commission said Habre is responsible for the politically motivated torture and deaths of at least 40,000 people during his eight-year rule. He has been living in Senegal since being overthrown in 1990.

Reed Brody, a lawyer for U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, praised the agreement said it shows a new willingness by Senegal to live up to its international obligations.

“This is a very important agreement. This brings us one step closer to Hissene Habre’s trial, and it’s an important step in the long campaign his victims have been waging to bring him to justice.”

Habre will be tried in a special court within the Senegalese judicial system with judges from Senegal and an African magistrate.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.