Senegal, AU experts meet over Habre trial

Dakar - Experts from Senegal and the African Union held talks on Monday on creating an ad hoc international court to try Chad's former dictator, Hissene Habre, for crimes against humanity, officials said.

"The organisers insisted that the meeting take place behind closed doors in a Dakar hotel," a Senegalese official said, and the announcement was confirmed by one of the human rights organisations representing victims of Habre, in power from 1982 to 1990.

Sources said the meeting should be open to the press on Friday, its last day. Participants at the meeting were studying the conclusions of a first session at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa in March on setting up the court.

In 2006, the AU pressed Senegal to try Hissene Habre, who is resident in the west African country, "in the name of Africa" for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. Tens of thousands of people were killed when Habre ruled his central African nation.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade agreed to comply with the AU request, but no legal proceedings were undertaken.

After the March meeting in Addis Ababa, the AU stated that procedures concerning the international court would be contingent "on the basis of [financial] resources proposed at the round table of donors" in Dakar in November 2010.

The international community then pledged contributions of $12.1m to finance the trial.

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