Habré trial gains pace

10 February 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

The prosecutor of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) last week filed his final indictment against Hissène Habré, bringing the trial of the former Chadian president [IJT-165] one step closer to reality.

Palais du 15 Janvier in N'Djaména, where the trial of 21 alleged Habré accomplices opened in November (Flickr/kendoerr)
Image caption: 
Palais du 15 Janvier in N'Djaména, where the trial of 21 alleged Habré accomplices opened in November (Flickr/kendoerr)

Prosecutor Mbacké Fall has asked the judges to refer Habré to the trial chamber of the EAC for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. The request comes after the investigative judges presiding over the probe of Habré, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, announced they had closed their investigations.

In a few weeks, the preliminary investigative chamber will announce its decision on how to move forward. If the judges follow the prosecutor’s recommendations, the trial could open as soon as May or June.

The investigative judges had come to Chad on various occasions during their probe.  They interviewed around 2,500 witnesses and victims. With a team of anthropologists from Argentina, they investigated the sites of presumed mass graves, and had access to thousands of documents of the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS), the political police during Habré’s regime. These were found in the DDS building when Chad’s current President Idriss Déby Itno took power 25 years ago.

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