Chad

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Judges hearing the appeal of Hissène Habré before the Extraordinary African Chamber (Photo: Twitter/@chambresafrica)
12 January 2017 by Thierry Cruvellier and IJT

This week the appeal of former Chadian president Hissène Habré started before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar. Habré was convicted in May last year of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture and sentenced to life in prison. The appeal has been mainly legal challenges from the defence and questions about the courts decisions on reparations. The sessions are being broadcast live but in the court in Dakar the public gallery has been largely empty and Habré himself has not attended the hearings.

From the IJT archives here's Thierry Cruvellier's 2016 story about how the Habré case can be a model as an alternative to international tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Demonstration of widows of victims of former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré in the Chadian capital N'Djamena in 2005 (Photo: Human Rights Watch)
15 June 2016 by Reed Brody (Op-ed contributor)

A special court in Senegal convicted Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, for atrocity crimes on May 30, and sentenced him to life in prison[IJT-192]. It was the first time  that the courts of one country had prosecuted the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes. It was also the first time in a human rights trial that a former ruler was found to have personally committed rape.

Most important for the future, however, the verdict was the result of a 25-year campaign by Habré’s victims and their supporters. They improbably succeeded in creating the political conditions to bring Habré to justice in Africa, with the support of the African Union.

 

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Stephen Rapp speaking at a Coalition for the ICC event in 2013 (Photo: Flickr/CICC)
30 September 2015

IJT 186 is our first issue after the summer break and also the first in our new publishing scheme of a monthly digest of our feature articles which appeared on our site previously.

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16 September 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

After grumbling from Chad that people there could not properly follow the proceedings of Hissène Habré, which resumed this month before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC), the trial of the ex-dictator was suddenly broadcast live on national television Tuesday.

Despite reported trouble with the audio-feed, this was the first time many victims in Chad – where 99 percent of the population lacks access to the internet and cannot follow the live-stream the EAC provides on its website – could see testimony in the case against their country’s former leader, accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture.

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Des veuves et des survivants remercient leurs avocats après la condamnation par une cour tchadienne en mars 2015 des agents de Habré (Photo : Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
19 June 2015 by Thierry Cruvellier

« La CPI en rêvait, les CAE l’ont fait.» Cette remarque d’un observateur de longue date des tribunaux pour crimes de guerre souligne l’une des raisons pour lesquelles les Chambres africaines extraordinaires (CAE) pourraient bien constituer l’évènement le plus important de cette année dans le domaine de la justice pénale internationale. L’objectif de la Cour pénale internationale est d’encourager les juridictions nationales à prendre en charge les poursuites judiciaires pour crimes de guerre ; or, les CAE l’ont déjà accompli. 

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Victims' widows and survivors thank lawyers after a court's March 2015 sentence against Habré's agents (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
15 June 2015 by Thierry Cruvellier

“What the ICC has dreamed of, the EAC is doing.” This remark by a long-time observer of war crimes tribunals highlights one of the reasons the Extraordinary African Chambers appears to be the most important event in the field of international criminal justice this year. The aim of the International Criminal Court has been to prompt national courts to take responsibility for war crimes prosecutions – something that the EAC has already achieved. 
 

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Chadians demonstrate for justice in January, following a second suspension of the trial against Habré’s henchmen (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
18 May 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

After decades of appeals from victims, former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré will finally go on trial. On 20 July in Dakar, before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) criminal trial court, he will face charges of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes committed in Chad between 1982 and 1990.

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Former Khmer Rouge minister Ieng Thirith, charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva Conventions, appears at a pretrial hearing at the Cambodia tribunal in 2010. (Photo: Flickr/ECCC POOL/Tang Chhin Sothy)
20 May 2015

IJT 182 explores how so-called chivalrous beliefs and practices may be behind the rare prosecution of female war crimes suspects.

Other features:

  • A tug-of-war between Uganda and DRC over the extradition of Jamil Mukulu highlights trouble with judicial cooperation in Africa.
  • Colombian and Guatemalan survivors of sexual violence during their countries' armed conflicts fight for justice.
  • The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement tries to excise Balkan suspects of war crimes.

News brief:

  • A trial date for Chadian ex-dictator Hissène Habré has finally been set.
     
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Chadians in court to hear verdict of DDS henchmen trial
25 March 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

The court room was packed this morning at the Palais du 15 janvier to hear the verdict in the case of the former agents of Chadian dictator Hissène Habré's feared political police: the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS). Anti-riot police were posted all around the room to separate the hundreds of victims and the families of the accused present.

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Chadians demonstrate for justice in January, following a second suspension of the trial against Habré’s henchmen (Photo: Twitter/@HenriThulliez)
24 March 2015 by Nathalie Magnien, N'Djamena (Chad)

After a 26-year wait and a four-month trial that saw victims finally confront alleged criminal accomplices of former dictator Hissène Habré [IJT-170], a Chad court is expected to deliver its ruling on 25 March. Judges will decide the fate of the 21 accused, facing charges of torture, murder, illegal arrest and arbitrary detention.

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