CHAD: First African President Tried by African Union-Backed Court

Former Chadian Dictator Hissène Habré is escorted to his trial in Senegal. (Photo: Google Images)

Former Chadian Dictator Hissène Habré is escorted to his trial in Senegal.
(Photo: Google Images)

AllAfrica.com is reporting the trial of former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré, will be the first by an African Union-backed court. The trial is being held in Senegal. It will also be the first time that a former president will be brought to trial in another African country. The author reports:

A quarter of a century since he fled the central African country, Habre’s hearing in front of the Extraordinary African Chambers got underway on Monday. Habre, clad all in white, was brought into the courtroom and seated in front of the judges’ dais before the media were allowed to enter. A source close to the special court told Reuters he was brought in ‘by force.’ The legislative body was set up by Senegal and the African Union in February 2013 to prosecute the “person or persons” most responsible for international crimes committed in Chad during Habre’s rule between 1982 and 1990.”

Habré, who is commonly referred to as ‘Africa’s Pinochet’ is also wanted on war crimes in Belgium. He is wanted on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges after three Belgian nationals of Chadian origin filed a suit in 2000 for arbitrary arrest, mass murder and torture. Human Rights Watch has compiled evidence that Habré oversaw the torture and murder of 40,000 Chadians of opposing groups (political and ethnic) whom he saw as a threat to his power over the country.

Survivors have worked for 25 years to bring Habré to justice. The historic case will also be the first time that the concept of “universal jurisdiction,” which allows a suspect to be prosecuted for their past crimes wherever they are in the world, has been implemented in Africa.

Read more at AllAfrica.com.

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