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Senegal to review laws in bid to try resident Chad dictator

[JURIST] The government of Senegal indicated Thursday that it will reexamine its local laws in order to bring to justice former Chad dictator Hissene Habre [JURIST news archive, BBC profile], now living in Senegal. In 1992 a Chadian Truth Commission report accused Habre of committing some 40,000 acts of murder and torture of political opponents during his rule from 1982 to 1990. The Senegalese courts dismissed an action against Habre in 2001 [HRW case backgrounder], claiming that they lacked jurisdiction over crimes committed elsewhere. The courts later refused to extradite Habre pursuant to an international arrest warrant [JURIST reports] that a Belgian court issued pursuant to its universal jurisdiction laws [HRW backgrounder].

Pressure from the African Union and the UN Committee Against Torture [official websites] have prompted Senegal to revisit its position on Habre. In May, the UN committee gave Senegal 90 days to try Habre or extradite him [JURIST report] to a country that would. Later during a July 2006 African Union summit, President Abdoulaye Wade [official profile, in French; BBC profile] agreed to try Habre [JURIST report] in Senegal. Habre remains under arrest [JURIST report] in the country. AP has more.

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