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"
HABRE IN THE NEWS
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, December 14, 2010
Politics: A Trying Trial
The Economist Intelligence Unit, August 11, 2010
Demands Senegal Try Ex-Chad Dictator
Associated Free Press, July 21, 2010