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ICJ denies Belgium request to force extraditon of Chad ex-president Habre

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] on Thursday denied [order, PDF] Belgium's request to compel Senegal to extradite former Chadian president Hissene Habre [BBC profile]. Belgium had accused Senegal of violating international law, including Article 7 of the Convention Against Torture [text], by not trying Habre in Senegal, where he has lived under house arrest since 1990. In April, Belgium asked [JURIST report] the ICJ to force Habre's extradition under Belgium's universal jurisdiction [AI backgrounder, PDF]. The ICJ found that assurances made by Senegal that Habre would remain in custody until trial were sufficient and that "the risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights claimed by Belgium is not apparent." Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade [official profile, in French] warned last year that he would need $27 million [HRW backgrounder] in order to prosecute Habre, and has asked the international community for that funding.

Belgium filed the suit [ICJ press release; JURIST report] in February asserting the ICJ must intervene because Belgium and Senegal were in dispute over Habre's prosecution. In October, lawyers for Habre filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) [official website] to prevent his trial for crimes against humanity in Senegal from moving forward. Fourteen citizens of Chad and Senegal filed complaints [JURIST report] with a Senegalese prosecutor in September alleging Habre committed war crimes and torture. In August, Chad convicted and sentenced Habre to death in absentia [JURIST report] for crimes against the state but did not seek extradition. Since 2005, Belgium and Senegal have been engaged in a legal battle over Habre because Senegal has long refused extradition [JURIST report].

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