Senegal to deport former Chad president Habre

[JURIST] The Senegalese government announced on Friday that they will be deporting [meeting summary, in French] former Chad president Hissene Habre [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to Chad, where he is likely to be tried for war crimes [AP-Senegal report, in French]. The Senegalese government had refused to extradite [JURIST report] Habre, despite ongoing international pressure to prosecute him for crimes against humanity. The Senegalese Minister of Communication and Spokesperson of the Government, Moustapha Guirassy, in confirming the announcement, stated their decision was based on a desire to be in compliance with the African Union [official website]. Habre will be returned on July 11, although Senegal has not confirmed that he is in custody [AFP report].

Last year, an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [JURIST report] cited the case of Habre as a prime example of Senegal's "contempt" for the rule of law. In 2009, the African Court on Human and People's Rights (AfCHPR) [official website] found that it lacked jurisdiction [JURIST report] to hear a case against Senegal on whether charges against Habre should be dropped. Habre has been accused of involvement in the murder or torture of more than 40,000 political opponents during his rule from 1982 to 1990. He later fled to Senegal after being removed from power in 1990. Belgium has sought to try him under the principle of universal jurisdiction, but Senegal has long refused extradition. Earlier that year, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] denied [JURIST report] Belgium's request to compel Habre's extradition. Belgium had accused Senegal of violating international law, including Article 7 of the Convention Against Torture, by not trying Habre in Senegal, where he has lived under house arrest since 1990. 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."

 

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