Former Chad leader carried into court for war crimes trial

Former Chad leader carried into court for war crimes trial

[JURIST] Former Chadian leader Hissène Habré [BBC profile] was carried into court Monday by masked security agents following his refusal to participate in his trial for war crimes. Habré, who has denounced the proceedings [AP report] as politically motivated, is accused of committing crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes during his 1982-1990 rule. According to the Chadian truth and reconciliation commission [materials], victims of the secret police network Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité (DDS), which Habré allegedly oversaw, may be as many as 40,000. The former leader created disturbances [The Guardian report] in the courtroom on Monday as his trial resumed, shouting at the judge as names of victims were read, but proceedings were able to resume by the afternoon. Some supporters of Habré were removed from the courtroom after rushing to the front of the court. According to court appointed lawyer Mounir Ballal, Habré has refused to communicate with his legal counsel since their appointment in July.

Habré, who fled to Senegal after being deposed in 1990, was indicted [JURIST report] by the Extraordinary African Chambers in July 2013 and placed in pretrial detention. In July the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal suspended [JURIST report] his trial on charges of crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes, reportedly due to the need for court appointed attorneys to prepare the former leader’s defense. In March, a criminal court in Chad sentenced [JURIST report] Habré-era police officers to prison tor torture. In 2013 more than 1,000 victims filed for civil party status, asking the Extraordinary African Chambers to officially recognize them as parties with an interest in the matter. The African Union [official website] began talks with Senegal to come up with a plan for Habré’s trial after the International Court of Justice [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in July 2012 that Senegal must either try Habré promptly or extradite him to Belgium for trial.