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Chad Former President Hissène Habré Found Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

After a Historical Trial in Senegal, the Extraordinary African Chambers Sentenced Hissène Habré to Life Imprisonment

May 30th, 2016
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26 years after the fall of his regime, the former President of Chad, Hissène Habré, has been found guilty of rape, sexual slavery and the ordering of mass murder. Hissène Habré is the first former head of State, to be sentenced by another country’s court for violating human rights.

Hissene Habre presided over Chad for eight years, from 1982-1990. At the end of his rule he fled to Senegal. During his rule, it is estimated that there was at least 40,000 deaths. He was arrested in June 2013 by the Senegalese  authority’s and after a ten month long trial, a special agreement created by Senegal and the African Union,  found him guilty of crimes against humanity.

Survivors and families of the victims were present in the courtroom when the judges announced their verdict. This ruling has been a major victory for human rights advocates throughout the world and also for the fight against corruption. Reed Brody from Human Rights Watch issued a statement, ‘Today will be carved into justice as the day that a band of unrelenting survivors brought their dictator to justice.’

Hissene Habre has 15 days to appeal the verdict made by the Extraordinary African Chambers. Hissene Habre refused to take part in his trial, he declined to make any statements or to acknowledge or speak to the judges, the victims or the victim’s families. For Imbrahima Diawara, who has campaigned for the prosecution and conviction of Hissene Habre, ‘this is not a judiciary battle but a political one. There is only one possible outcome, that Hissene Habre be convicted.’

The trial, which was organized by the African Union in cooperation with Chad and Senegal, was also ordered by the International Criminal Court to conduct an investigation and to prosecute African leaders accused of such crimes. This trial and its guilty verdict has demonstrated that African is capable of handling human rights abuses which have occurred in Africa.

References

Cultural Diplomacy News

Gaspard Fontaine, CD-News