Monday, February 4, 2013

Special Court to Try Hissene Habre to Commence Later this Week

On February 8, 2013, Senegal will inaugurate a special court to try the former dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, marking a significant step forward in the long campaign to bring Habré to justice.  The court is known as the Extraordinary African Chambers and was created within the Senegalese judicial system pursuant to an agreement with the African Union (AU) following many years of litigation and negotiation. The pretrial investigation will be conducted by four Senegalese magistrates and is expected to last 15 months. It is anticipated that the investigation will be followed by a trial in 2014, at which a non-Senegalese judge appointed by the AU will preside.

Habré’s trial will be the first time that the courts of one country tried the leader of another country for alleged human rights crimes.  Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture during his presidency, from 1982 to 1990. At the end of his regime, he fled to Senegal where he has been living for the past 22 years.


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