Ex-Chad dictator charged over war crimes

2013-07-02 21:15
Authorities detained former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre, who faces trial for crimes against humanity.

Authorities detained former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre, who faces trial for crimes against humanity. (Patrick Hertzog, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar - Senegalese authorities charged former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre with genocide and crimes against humanity and remanded him in custody on Tuesday in a prosecution seen by many as a milestone for African justice.

The 70-year-old was also charged with war crimes and torture during his eight years in power in Chad, where rights groups say 40 000 people were killed under his rule, a court source and his lawyers told AFP.

Habre's legal team said genocide was among the main charges he faced and that he would be remanded in custody in Dakar.

Habre - once dubbed "Africa's Pinochet" - had been in a police cell in the Senegalese capital since his arrest on Sunday at the home he shares with his wife and children, according to a security source.

Mbacke Fall, a prosecutor with a special court set up in February to try Habre, told a media conference on Monday he wanted Habre kept in custody after finding "serious and corroborating evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture".

He added that prosecutors considered Habre to have "prime responsibility for the repression" carried out during his reign in Chad from 1982 to 1990.

Delayed for years by Senegal where he has lived since being ousted in 1990, Habre's trial will set a historic precedent as until now African leaders accused of atrocities have only been tried in international courts.

Typically dressed in combat fatigues during the years of his rule, Habre earned the nickname "desert fighter" after he seized power in 1982 from former rebel ally Goukouni Weddeye during a long conflict with Libya, which wanted to annex the north of Chad.

His regime was marked by fierce repression of his opponents and the targeting of ethnic groups, and in 1990 he fled to Senegal after being ousted by incumbent president Idriss Deby Itno, who hailed Habre's arrest as a step toward "an Africa free of all evil, an Africa stripped of all dictatorships".

Violated human rights

A decade later a group of victims filed charges against him in Senegal, but he has never been brought to trial and former president Abdoulaye Wade repeatedly tried to "get rid of him".

Senegal and the African Union signed an agreement in December to set up the court to try Habre for the offences.

The AU had mandated Senegal to try Habre in July 2006, but the country stalled the process for years under Wade.

Habre was also wanted for trial in Belgium on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges after three Belgian nationals of Chadian origin filed suit in 2000 for arbitrary arrest, mass murder and torture.

Macky Sall, Wade's successor who took office in April last year, ruled out extraditing Habre to Belgium, which was prepared to try him, vowing to organise a trial in Senegal.

In May, lawyers for Habre said they had filed a lawsuit in Senegal to try to prevent the trial from going ahead, saying the west African country had violated his human rights.

His lawyers have complained that he was "illegally seized and taken away by force" from his home.

Read more on:    macky sall  |  hissene habre  |  chad  |  senegal  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.