No Belgian trial for ex-Chad ruler Habre

3rd July 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 July 2006, BRUSSELS — Former Chadian President Hissene Habre will be tried on charges of political murder and torture in Senegal, the African Union said on Sunday.

3 July 2006

BRUSSELS — Former Chadian President Hissene Habre will be tried on charges of political murder and torture in Senegal, the African Union said on Sunday.

Legal experts advised AU leaders to have Habre tried in Africa, not Belgium which has requested his extradition.

"All the legal provisions will be made so that Habre can be tried in Senegal. It is the African Union which has taken ownership of this dossier and has decided that Habre be tried in Senegal," African Union president Denis Sassou Nguesso said.

A Chadian government inquiry has accused Habre's government of 40,000 political killings and 200,000 cases of torture during his 1982-1990 rule.

Habre, who was ousted in 1990, denies all knowledge of abuse and his lawyers say the government's report was politically motivated.

A Senegalese court earlier ruled that Habre cannot be tried there, but African legal experts say Senegal has a duty to try Habre under the international convention against torture.

And Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade has promised that the trial will go ahead: "We thought that Senegal was the best-placed country to judge him and I believe we will not shirk our responsibility".

Habre lived in exile in Senegal for 15 years before his arrest on 15 November last year.

Belgium had initially applied for his extradition based on the country's universal jurisdiction law, which allows Belgian judges to prosecute human rights violations no matter where they were committed.

The African Union ruling over the weekend ends months of speculation over Habre's immediate future.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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