• Widows demonstrate in 2005 in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, in favor of ex-dictator Hissène Habré extradition to Belgium.

    Senegal’s withdrawal from talks to establish a court to try the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré was the “last straw,” a coalition of his victims and human rights groups said today. The groups said that they were fast losing all hope for a trial in Senegal, where Habré has remained in exile for two decades, and would now press to have Habré sent to Belgium. Belgium had requested his extradition in 2005 and again in 2011.
  • OVERVIEW

    Human Rights Watch has been working since 1999 with the victims of Chad's exiled former president, Hissène Habré, to bring him to trial.

    Mr. Habré was first indicted in Senegal in 2000 before courts ruled that he could not be tried there. His victims then turned to Belgium and, after a four-year investigation, a Belgian judge in September 2005 issued an international arrest warrant charging Mr. Habré with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture committed during his 1982-90 rule and requested his extradition.

    Senegal then asked the African Union to recommend a course of action. On July 2, 2006, the African Union called on Senegal to prosecute Hissène Habré "on behalf of Africa," and President Abdoulaye Wade declared that Senegal would do so.

    In 2007-2008, Senegal amended its constitution and laws to permit the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture no matter when and where the acts occurred.

    On September 16, 2008, fourteen victims filed complaints with a Senegalese prosecutor accusing Habré of crimes against humanity and torture. Senegal said, however, that it would not process the complaints until it receives €27 million from the international community for all the costs of the trial.

    Faced with Senegal's inaction, Belgium on February 19, 2009 asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order Senegal to prosecute or extradite Mr. Habré. . On May 28, the court accepted Senegal's formal pledge not to allow Habré to leave Senegal pending its final judgment.

    A ruling from the ECOWAS Court of Justice on November 18, 2010 requested that Senegal create a special jurisdiction to prosecute Habré.

    In the meantime, the AU and the European Union intensified negotiations over a budget, and agreement was reached on a US$11.7 million (€8.59 million) budget for a 20-month investigation and a five month trial. A donors' meeting in Dakar on  November 24, 2010 saw pledges which slightly exceeded that amount, and called for "the immediate launching of the prosecution phase of the case once the necessary resources for the launch have been mobilised"

     

    LEGAL DOCUMENTS

    ECOWAS: Arrêt Affaire Hissein Habré c. République du Sénégal

    ICJ : Belgium v. Senegal, Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite

    Decision On The Hissene Habre Case And The African Union Doc. Assembly/Au/3 (Vii) (8/2/06)

    Report Of The Committee Of Eminent African Jurists On The Case Of Hissene Habre (May 2006)

    Decision of the U.N. Committee against Torture (05/18/06)

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    HABRE IN THE NEWS

    A trial for Habré?
    Radio Netherlands Worldwide, December 14, 2010

    Senegal Politics: A Trying Trial
    The Economist Intelligence Unit, August 11, 2010

    Tutu Demands Senegal Try Ex-Chad Dictator
    Associated Free Press, July 21, 2010

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Reports

Habré