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African Union to decide on Habre extradition for Belgian crimes trial

[JURIST] Senegal's foreign minister said Sunday that former Chad dictator Hissene Habre [Human Rights Watch backgrounder], wanted in Belgium for alleged human rights abuses committed during his 1982-90 rule of the north-central African nation, will have his fate decided by the 53-member African Union [official website]. Habre is in legal limbo [JURIST report] after a Senegalese appeals court Friday said it was "not competent" to decide on his extradition from Senegal, where he has been living since he was ousted from power. The extradition decision will be made during a Union conference scheduled for January 23 in Khartoum, Sudan. Habre and his regime have been accused of some 200,000 cases of torture and 40,000 political killings. Belgium issued an international arrest warrant [JURIST report] for Habre earlier this fall under universal jurisdiction laws [Amnesty backgrounder; Princeton Principles, PDF] that allow for prosecutions for crimes against humanity regardless of where the crimes were committed. Human Rights Watch has said that Belgian courts offer "the only real possibility for Hissene Habre to answer the charges against him in the context of a fair trial." Reuters has more.

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