Chad ex-leader's war crimes verdict due

Monday, 30 May 2016 10:01
Mr Habre's trial is seen as a test case for justice in Africa Mr Habre's trial is seen as a test case for justice in Africa

A verdict is due in the landmark war crimes trial of Chad's ex-leader Hissene Habre in Senegal.

It is the first time an African Union-backed court has tried a former ruler for alleged human rights abuses.

The prosecutor at the court in Senegal's capital Dakar has requested a life sentence for Mr Habre, who refuses to recognise its legitimacy.

The ex-president is accused of ordering the killing of 40,000 people during his rule in the 1980s, charges he denies.

Mr Habre frequently disrupted proceedings during his trial, shouting abuse and calling the process "a farce", and eventually being carried into the court by security guards after refusing to appear.

His critics dubbed him "Africa's Pinochet" because of the notorious atrocities allegedly committed during his eight-year rule from 1982 to 1990.

Habre was arrested in Senegal, where he was exiled, in 2013.

Many of his alleged victims waged a campaign for him to face justice since his overthrow in 1990.

In 2005, a court in Belgium issued a warrant for his arrest, claiming universal jurisdiction but, after Senegal referred the issue to the African Union, the AU asked Senegal to try Mr Habre "on behalf of Africa".

In 2013, a court in Chad sentenced him to death in absentia for crimes against humanity.

Who is Hissene Habre?

Born in 1942 to ethnic Toubou herders in northern Chad

• Given scholarship to study political science in France

• First came to the world's attention in 1974 when his rebels captured three European hostages to ransom for money and arms

• Seized power in 1982 allegedly with the help of the CIA ousted by current President Idriss Deby in 1990

• Accused of systematically persecuting groups he distrusted

• A former swimming pool was used as an underground prison where survivors say they were subjected to electric shocks, near-asphyxia and "supplice des baguettes", when their heads were squeezed between sticks

 

 

Source: BBC