AU wants Habre tried in Senegal

2011-01-29 14:00

Addis Ababa - The African Union reiterated Saturday that it wants former Chadian president Hissene Habre tried in Senegal by a special mechanism to be set up within that country's legal system.

Habre has been blamed for the killing and torturing of thousands during his rule from 1982 to 1990, when he was toppled and fled the country. He has since been living in Senegal.

In December Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said he wanted to "get rid of" Habre, exiled in Dakar, by handing the case back to the AU.

The AU had mandated Senegal to try Habre in 2006 on behalf of Africa for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture.

"The AU presented Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade with a project to create an extraordinary chamber within the framework of Senegal's legal system," Ben Kioko, the AU's Director of Office of Legal Counsel told journalists.

"Since 2006 the AU has been working with Senegal to ensure early trial of Hissene Habre in Senegal, " Kioko said.

"Having examined all various options, the committeee recommended best option was (a trial in) Senegal as Hissene Habre was based there," Kioko said.

One of the three judges in the extraordinary trial chamber should be a judge from another African country. A non-Senegalese African judge will also sit in the appeals chamber.

Wade has in the past said the only thing preventing him from trying Habre was lack of money.

Bioko said donor nations have pledged to contribute funds but did not say if the pledges have been fulfilled.

Asked whether Wade still has the political will to push ahead with the trial he said: "our assumption is that the political will to try Hissene Habre remains until Wade himself says otherwise."

"We want to assume that having been given a mandate by the AU, which he accepted, that the political will remains," he insisted.

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