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[Press release] The case of Hissène Habré brought before a Senegalese special court. A victory against impunity. A historic step forward for international law.

July 2013

[English] [français]

Geneva-Dakar, 4 July 2013 - FIACAT and ACAT Senegal welcome the fact that former Chadian president, Hissène Habré, was indicted before a special court in Senegal on 2 July 2013.

Since his fall after eight years in power in Chad (1982-1990), Hissène Habré has lived in exile in Dakar. There, he has enjoyed complete impunity for 22 years for the crimes (assassinations and torture) committed under his regime due to the lack of an extradition agreement or attribution of competence to a special court to deal with the case.

In its judgement of 20 July 2012, the International Court of Justice ordered Senegal to prosecute the former Chadian dictator ‘without further delay’ or to extradite him. In November 2012, during Senegal’s examination before the UN Committee against Torture, the Senegalese State made a commitment to make the fight against impunity one of its key priorities.

Today, the progress of the Hissène Habré case is proof that justice is being done.

In February 2013, the Extraordinary African Chambers were also set up by Senegal and the African Union. On 2 July 2013, the Extraordinary African Chambers’ Committee of Enquiry charged the former Chadian president with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, and immediately arrested him, then placed him under a detention warrant.

This is the first time that the courts of one African state will have tried the leader of another state for serious crimes under international law which have been committed in another country.

In the face of this historic precedent in international law, FIACAT and ACAT Senegal urge the Senegalese authorities to conduct a fair and just trial as an example to the rest of the continent. The trial, if it takes place, will serve as a strong message against impunity and a sign of justice for both victims and dictators across the whole world.

Press contact:
- Lionel Grassy +41 78 74 99 328 – l.grassy@fiacat.org
- Henri V.B. Gomis +221 77 428 04 61 – henritherese@yahoo.fr

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