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Ex-Chad president facing crimes trial in Senegal

[JURIST] Former Chadian president Hissene Habre [HRW materials; JURIST news archive] will face trial in Senegal on charges that he committed torture, mass killings, and other abuses in the 1980s, leaders of the African Union [official website] decided at an assembly [draft agenda] in Gambia this past weekend. Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade [official profile, in French; BBC profile], said his country is "best-placed" to try Habre, who has been in exile there since a coup forced him from power in 1990. The assembly's decision follows an AU panel's recommendation [JURIST report] that Habre be tried in Senegal, Chad or another African nation that has adopted the international Convention Against Torture, rather than in Belgium, which issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for the ex-dictator and requested his extradition under its universal jurisdiction laws.

Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] has already expressed concern that Senegal will not try Habre promptly, pointing out that the country had twice refused to allow the prosecution to proceed. AFP has more. IRIN has additional coverage.

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