Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hissene Habre: Ex-Chad dictator's case referred to Panel

Excerpts from Guardian report by Associated Press Writer Michelle Faul, January 25, 2006:

"...Habre's fate is now in the hands of African leaders, who decided Tuesday at the annual African Union summit in Sudan to form a committee of African jurists to decide within six months what should happen to him. The case is loaded with implications for African presidents, who include coup leaders and others accused of human rights violations.

At the summit, African leaders expressed a preference for an "African solution" to the problem of what to do about Habre. That indicated a distaste for extraditing Habre to Belgium, where a judge in September indicted him for crimes against humanity and torture, a ruling made after four years of investigations. A truth commission in Chad had already estimated that Habre's regime killed 40,000 of its citizens.

Options include trying him in a Chadian court or setting up a court under the African Union.

Habre's alleged victims celebrated his indictment in Belgium, thinking they finally had found a court that would hear their case. But those hopes were crushed when Senegal refused to extradite him.

A Senegalese judge had previously indicted the Chadian dictator in 2000 when the victims' association filed suit there. But the judge was thrown off the case and Senegalese courts ruled they had no jurisdiction.

Habre's lawyer Mustafa Diouf, speaking to reporters at the conference Tuesday, said the case should have been closed with the Senegalese courts' ruling, though he did not declare his client's innocence.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade took the case to the African Union, saying it's a continental affair, not a Senegalese one.

The prospect of an African court trying Habre offers cold comfort to people like Abaifouta, 45, burned by his experience in Senegal. "It's difficult to find equitable justice in Africa because, always, politics interferes," he said. ..."


Post a Comment

<< Home