Lawyers’ strike halts Habré henchmen trial in Chad

03 December 2014 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

The trial of 21 former political police agents of Chad’s ex-president Hissène Habré was adjourned last week after just a handful of hearings. The reason for delay is an on-going lawyers’ strike over a pay dispute with the government.

Since the 14 November opening [IJT170], only two defendants appeared before court. 

Henry Thulliez, who monitors the case for Human Rights Watch, told IJT that the strike is slowing things down. “But the court’s decision to adjourn the hearings until [lawyers] come back demonstrates a will to respect the procedural rules,” he said. “Only a fair trial will have a real impact. Since its beginning, at least, a few victims have been able to speak.” 

Thulliez added that the fact that state broadcaster TV Chad reported on the case “raises hopes that the trial could have an educational and deterrent effect”.

Among the victims who spoke was Oumar Goudja. With obvious relief, the 60-something year-old said: “I have been waiting for 24 years.” He testified against Nodjigoto Haunan, a former coordinator in the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS). 

Haunan admitted working in the DDS from late 1987 until August 1989, but denied all charges. 

“I don’t know this man,” he said, referring to Goudja. 

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.