Expatica news

Habre to stay in Senegal until African summit

28 November 2005

BRUSSELS — The subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Belgium, former Chad ruler Hissene Habre will remain in Senegal until the African Union rules on his judicial fate in January 2006.

“The case will be handled during the coming summit of African Union state leaders in Khartoum from 23 to 24 January. That is not a Sengalese occasion, but an African one,” Senegal Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said on Sunday night.

The minister also said Senegal opposed impunity, but believed it was the responsibility of the African continent to issue a collective ruling on Habre. “It is up to the African Union leaders to recommend the jurisdiction competent to judge this matter,” Gadio said.

Habre lived in exile in Senegal for 15 years before his arrest on 15 November on charges of political killings and torture dating back to his term as Chad president from 1982 to 1990.

Brussels Court issued the arrest warrant in September based on the country’s universal jurisdiction law. This allows Belgian judges to prosecute human rights violations no matter where they were committed.

A Senegalese court then declared itself on Friday incompetent to rule on the Belgian extradition order and freed him. Habre was briefly re-arrested on Saturday with the intention to be sent within 48 hours to Nigeria, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the African Union.

However, Gadio said on Sunday the 48-hour arrest order had been revoked and Habre would be allowed to stay in Senegal pending the next AU summit in January.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news