Dic­ta­tor’s trial to fea­ture 4000 vic­tims

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

N’DJA­MENA — More than 4 00000 vic­tims have been reg­is­tered in the trial of for­mer Cha­dian dic­c­ta­tor His­sene Habre (pic­tured) d) for atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted dur­ing ng his pres­i­dency, their lawyers sai­did Mon­day.

Once dubbed “Africa’s Pi­noo­chet”, the 72-year-old has been in cus­tody in Sene­gal since his ar­rrest in June 2013 at the home he shared with his wife and chil­dren. n.

Rights groups say 40 000 peo­ple le were killed dur­ing his eight yearsrs in power in Chad un­der a regimeme marked by fierce re­pres­sion of hi­sis op­po­nents and the tar­get­ing of ri­ival eth­nic groups.

The group “rep­re­sents more e than 4 000 di­rect and in­di­rect vic­tims” to be taken into ac­count by the Ex­tra­or­di­nary African Cham­bers in Dakar, Cha­dian lawyer Jac­que­line Moudeina told a news con­fer­ence in the Sene­galese cap­i­tal.

Mr Habre’s trial for tor­ture, war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity is due to be­gin on 20 July. De­layed for years by Sene­gal, where Mr Habre has lived since be­ing ousted in 1990, the hear­ings will set a his­toric prece­dent as un­til now African lead­ers ac­cused of atroc­i­ties have been tried in in­ter­na­tional courts.

Ms Moudeina said the trial would be “a turn­ing point for jus­tice in Africa and will sound an alarm for all the dic­ta­tors whose crimes will one day catch up with them”.

Ms Moudeina said the case for the pros­e­cu­tion — par­tic­u­larly doc­u­ments de­mon­strat­ing a di­rect link be­tween Habre the coun­try’s se­cret po­lice, the Doc­u­men­ta­tion and Se­cu­rity Di­rec­torate (DDS) -was “solid”.

“Habre had per­fect knowl­edge of the oper­a­tions of the DDS. It would not be a vi­o­la­tion of the law if the court or­dered a forced ap­pear­ance of His­sene Habre,” said Me As­sane Dioma Ndi­aye, another lawyer for the group, ad­dress­ing fears that Habre would refuse to take the stand.

Mr Habre’s lawyers say he does not recog­nise the ju­ris­dic­tion of the court, set up by the African Union fol­low­ing an agree­ment signed with Sene­gal in De­cem­ber 2012. — AFP

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