Senegal court to rule on Habre extradition

21st November 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 November 2005, BRUSSELS — A Senegal court will rule on Tuesday whether former Chad president Hissene Habre can be extradited to Belgium to face trial for alleged atrocities committed during his rule.

21 November 2005

BRUSSELS — A Senegal court will rule on Tuesday whether former Chad president Hissene Habre can be extradited to Belgium to face trial for alleged atrocities committed during his rule.

Habre, 63, appeared before Dakar Court in Senegal on Friday to face the extradition charges. He is accused of being responsible for mass murder and torture carried out by his political police when he was Chad President between 1982 and 1990.

At Friday's hearing, Belgium's government and human rights lawyers called on Senegal to hand Habre over to Belgium for trial.

Habre was arrested on 15 November in Senegal, where he has lived for the past 15 years in exile.

Defence lawyers claim their client had no knowledge that his police tortured and killed political prisoners and are fighting the extradition, Reuters reported.

Senegal's Appeals Court will now deliver its verdict on the Belgian extradition request on Tuesday, after which President Abdoulaye Wade will make the final decision.

Wade said last week he would consult the African Union on whether or not to hand over the former Chadian president, who has been dubbed 'Africa's Pinochet' by human rights lawyers.

Brussels Court issued the arrest warrant in September under the country's universal jurisdiction law and the federal government has repeated its backing for the extradition request.

Belgium's universal jurisdiction law allows Belgian judges to prosecute human rights violations no matter where they were committed.

"The entire Belgian government is determined to go all the way to the end with this," Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx said.

She said if Wade turned down the extradition request, Belgium could invoke international conventions against torture signed by both countries. If that failed, it might even take the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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