Document - Chad: The Habré Legacy


The Habré Legacy


On 20 March 2001, the Senegal Court of Cassation rejected the jurisdiction of the Senegalese courts to try Hissein Habré, former President of Chad, who had been charged one year earlier in Dakar with complicity in acts of torture and crimes against humanity. The Court of Cassation's decision ended proceedings initiated in Senegal by victims, with the support of human rights defenders, who accuse Hissein Habré of acts of torture and crimes against humanity.

The Court of Cassation ruled that the Senegalese courts had no competence to try a foreign national who had committed, or aided and abetted, crimes of torture in a foreign country, because although Senegal had ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture) in 1986, it had not adopted the necessary implementing provisions to incorporate it into its domestic legislation. Amnesty International deeply regrets the Court of Cassation's decision and considers that the Senegalese justice system missed an historic opportunity to create a precedent, by ruling that ratification of the Convention against Torture, which provides for universal jurisdiction for the crime of torture, was in itself sufficient to establish its competence. Amnesty International has been calling for Hissein Habré to be brought to justice in Senegal since 1992.(1)

However, the campaign against the impunity of those responsible for the massive human rights violations committed under the government of Hissein Habré has continued. Complaints against the former president of Chad have already been lodged in Belgium, accusing him of acts of torture and other crimes against humanity. In Chad, complaints have been lodged against former president Habré's collaborators for acts of torture. Amnesty International welcomes all initiatives leading to the perpetrators of human rights abuses being brought to justice, provided that they are given a fair trial and are not at risk of ill-treatment or the death penalty. It welcomes in particular the stance taken recently by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, who in an interview with a Swiss daily on 27 September 2001, declared that he was ready to allow Hissein Habré to leave to a country ''capable of organizing a fair trial''.

Amnesty International hopes that The Habré Legacy,which highlights the extent of human rights violations committed under the Habré government (1982-1990), based on information published by Amnesty International at that time, will strengthen the campaign to end the impunity for the crimes committed in Chad. The document demonstrates the serious and widespread nature of violations committed under Hissein Habré and stresses that violations have continued under his successor, President Idriss Déby. The Habré Legacyalso highlights the complicity of foreign countries in the violations committed under the Habré government and the destructive consequences of the impunity which has reigned for so long in Chad and which continues even today.(2)


On 3 February 2000, in Dakar, Senegal,(3) a Senegalese judge indicted Hissein Habré, former President of Chad, on charges of having "knowingly aided or assisted X…in committing crimes against humanity, acts of torture and barbarity". The indictment followed complaints lodged against him on 25 January 2000 by some of the victims of atrocities perpetrated under his presidency. Their action was supported by the Comité International pour le Jugement de Hissein Habré, International Committee for the Trial of Hissein Habré (the Committee), an international coalition of human rights organizations(4). Hissein Habré was interviewed initially by the senior investigating judge in Dakar, who placed him under house arrest. A legal debate began immediately over the admissibility of the complaint with the lawyers for the defence lodging an application for dismissal of the charges, on the grounds that the Senegalese courts had no jurisdiction to try a foreign national who had committed crimes in a foreign country because, although Senegal had ratified the Convention against Torture, it had not adopted the necessary implementing provisions. The defence lawyers also argued that, under the Senegalese Code of Criminal Procedure, torture is subject to a 10 year statute of limitations. The Committee itself maintains that Hissein Habré committed acts of torture and crimes against humanity between 1982 and 1990 and that there is universal competence over such crimes, established in Senegal by the ratification of the 1984 Convention.

It is important to note that in early 2000, Daniel Bekoutou, a Chadian journalist living in Senegal, received death threats from people purporting to be supporters of Hissein Habré because of his involvement in the preparation of the legal complaint against Hissein Habré. In January 2000, these people came to the offices of Wal Fadjiri, a Senegalese daily, and asked, unsuccessfully, to meet Daniel Bekoutou. A few days later, at a meeting of the Chadian victims who had lodged the complaint, held in the University of Dakar, two Hissein Habré supporters threatened to kill Daniel Bekoutou. The men had patently come to disrupt the meeting. Daniel Bekoutou immediately lodged a complaint with the Gendarmerie, then, given the threats to his security, decided to leave Senegal.

In July 2000, the Court of Appeal ruled that Senegalese courts have no jurisdiction over acts committed by a foreign national outside their jurisdiction. The victims lodged a pourvoi en cassation(appeal on a point of law) maintaining that by virtue of the principle of universality incorporated in the Convention against Torture, Senegal ought to bring Hissein Habré to trial. Article 7 of the Convention against Torture creates an obligation for each signatory State to bring to trial or to extradite anyone present in its territory suspected of having committed acts of torture, regardless of their nationality or the country in which the crimes were committed. Moreover, Article 27 of the Vienna Convention of 1969 on the Law of Treaties provides that a signatory state may not invoke the failings of its internal law as justification for its own failure to perform international conventions.(5)

The Court of Cassation's decision of 20 March 2001 reflects a strict interpretation of Senegalese law and of the Convention against Torture. Legally, the Court could have created a precedent by considering that ratification of the Convention against Torture, which provides for universal jurisdiction over the crime of torture, was sufficient to establish its jurisdiction. This decision of Senegal's highest court may imply a lack of will to bring Hissein Habré to trial. The former president has moreover benefited from the support of the Senegalese authorities since his flight from Chad in 1990. One of his lawyers also became adviser to the Senegalese president, Abdoulaye Wade, after his election in March 2000. The Committee, in common with other observers, expressed concern that this might have influenced the course of events in Dakar and that there may have been political interference.

There are several indications that, since his downfall, Hissein Habré has had the support of the Senegalese state at the highest level. In 1990, President Diouf gave him refuge in Senegal on ''humanitarian grounds''. Although since 1992 Amnesty International has publicly expressed concern ''that the Senegalese authorities have done nothing to have the former president brought to justice''(6), no such steps were taken. Furthermore, in April 2001, one month after the Court of Cassation decision declaring the Senegalese courts to have no jurisdiction, President Wade publicly gave Hissein Habré one month to leave Senegal. This decision aroused the fears of many human rights organizations, as it provided an opportunity for the former president of Chad to find a safe refuge and escape any requests for his extradition. On 20 April 2001, the United Nations Committee against Torture, with which a Chadian complainant had lodged a complaint in connection with Senegal's failure to respect the Convention against Torture, called on the Senegalese authorities ''not to expel Hissein Habré and to take all necessary steps to prevent Mr. Habré leaving Senegalese territory other than under an extradition order''(7).

When the decision of the Court of Cassation was made public, the Committee announced it would be continuing its campaign for justice. The campaign is not limited to former president Habré, but also aims to bring some of his subordinates to justice. In N'Djaména, by October 2000, with the support of the Committee, 17 complaints had been lodged for "crimes of torture, murder and enforced disappearance" against members of the Direction de la documentation et de la sécurité (DDS), Directorate of Documentation and Security, a security service that was answerable directly to the president. Other complaints followed and at the time of writing, 40 individual and two collective complaints in the name of the Association des Victimes des Crimes et Répressions Politiques au Tchad(AVCRP), Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime have been lodged in Chad. However, in November 2000, the investigating judge declared that he had no jurisdiction because a special court to try Hissein Habré and his collaborators, provided for in a 1993 law, had never been created. The victims appealed against this decision. The Constitutional Council determined that the investigating judge did have jurisdiction over the case. The case was returned to the investigating judge who, since May, has been investigating the accusations.

Legal action against Hissein Habré is not limited to Chad and Senegal. A complaint against Hissein Habré for "crimes against humanity, torture and acts of barbarity, arbitrary arrests, murder, attacks on the freedom of the individual and on the inviolability of the home, abductions, enforced disappearances and false imprisonment" was lodged in Belgium in November 2000. Since then, at least 10 more legal actions have followed in Belgium. The universal jurisdiction of the Belgian courts over "international crimes" and "violations of the laws of war" is established by a law of 16 June 1993. Since 1999, it has also included crimes against humanity and genocide.

When President Wade met an Amnesty International delegation in June 2001, the organization also requested the government not to take measures which would encourage the former president of Chad to leave Senegal, since that could lead him to seek refuge in another country. President Wade stated that he had written to international institutions in order that they assume their responsibility in the Habré case but there had been no response. President Wade publicly clarified his position in an interview in the Swiss daily, ''Le Temps'' published on 27 September 2001. Questioned on the fate of the former Chadian president, President Wade stated, ''I was ready to send Hissein Habré anywhere, including to his own country, Chad, but Kofi Annan intervened and asked me to keep Hissein Habré in my country until he can be brought to justice in another country. I have agreed to this but do not want this situation to drag on. Senegal has neither the jurisdiction nor the resources to try him. Chad does not want to try him. If a country, capable of organizing a fair trial - Belgium has been mentioned - wants to take him, I see no obstacle. But they should be quick. I do not intend to keep Hissein Habré in Senegal''.

Amnesty International welcomes this declaration which underlines Senegal's commitment to establishing a system of international justice. Senegal had previously demonstrated this commitment by being the first country to ratify the Statute of Rome, creating a permanent International Criminal Court. In showing himself ready to hand Hissein Habré over to a country capable and willing to bring him to justice through a fair trial, the Senegalese authorities can only contribute to the emergence of a world legal order that will hold those responsible for human rights violations accountable for their actions. If the former President of Chad were brought to justice, it would send a strong signal right across the African continent and the world that the international community is determined to fight impunity. This is the price that needs to be paid if human rights are to be better respected.

i)The recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on the crimes and abuses committed by former president Habré and his partners or accomplices

The attempts since January 2000 to prosecute Hissein Habré are only the most recent efforts to obtain justice for the victims of violations committed under his government. Shortly after Idriss Déby took power, a Commission of Inquiry was established. Its mandate was to investigate sequestrations, unlawful detention, killings, "disappearances", torture, barbaric acts, ill-treatment, malicious injury and other human rights violations, as well as drugs trafficking and embezzlement of funds while President Habré was in power.

The Commission, created by decree in 1990, was initially composed of 12 members; two judges, four police officers, two administrators, two archivists and two secretaries. At first, the Commission encountered a number of problems: it had to fight to have even a minimal budget, had no headquarters and was obliged to occupy the offices of the DDS, which hardly encouraged victims to come and give evidence. In addition, former members of the DDS who had been re-engaged by the new Centre de Recherches et de Coordination de Renseignements(CRCR), Centre for Research and Co-ordination of Intelligence, were accused of intimidating witnesses. After six months, the president of the Commission of Inquiry called for the replacement of a number of Commission members, who were apparently too afraid to become really involved, and it was only after they had been replaced that the Commission's real work began. Despite these and other difficulties (such as obstruction by "rehabilitated" members of the former government still in positions of influence, the inaccessibility of some areas due to counter-insurgency operations, the public's fear of giving evidence, and threats to the investigators), the Commission interviewed over 1,700 people, including 662 former detainees, 786 close relatives of victims who died in detention or were extrajudicially executed, 236 prisoners of war, 30 former DDS agents and 12 of Hissein Habré's former senior officials. It examined several mass graves, sites of extrajudicial executions and detention centres before publishing its report. It identified branches of the security forces implicated in these violations, including the Direction de la documentation et de la Sécurité(DDS), Directorate for Documentation and Security, the Sécurité présidentielle(SP), Presidential Security Force, the Service d'investigation présidentielle(SIP), Presidential Investigation Service and the Renseignements généraux(RG), General Intelligence Service.

In its report, published in May 1992 after 17 months' work, the Commission said: "It is only fair to draw the reader's attention to the fact that this investigation covers only a minute proportion of the acts committed by the Habré dictatorship. Neither time granted to the Commission, the means at its disposal nor the availability of victims enabled it to conduct an exhaustive investigation." The Commission drew up a list of 3,806 people, including 26 foreign nationals, who had died in detention or been extrajudicially executed during the period 1982-1990, and calculated that the total could reach 40,000 deaths. It counted 54,000 prisoners (dead and alive) during the same period. The Commission's considered that the work it carried out represented no more than 10 per cent of the violations and crimes committed under Hissein Habré.

Photo caption: Remains of victims of extrajudicial execution, exhumed by the Commission of Inquiry ©Private

The Commission's report was an overwhelming indictment of the Habré government which, according to the investigators, was guilty of "widespread massacres and acts of terrible savagery", mostly of, or against, unarmed civilians. The Commission also noted that former DDS officers, guilty of human rights violations, had escaped all sanctions and that a number of them had been reinstated in the army, the gendarmerie and the CRCR, successor to the DDS.

The Commission made a number of recommendations designed to protect human rights and guarantee the rule of law. It called for former DDS officers to be removed from the CRCR with immediate effect. It recommended placing all former DDS members who had broken the law in preventive detention, pending trial, and for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission.

To date, with the exception of the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, the majority of the Commission's recommendations have not been implemented.During a visit to Chad in April 1996, Amnesty International raised the government's failure to act on the report of the Commission of Inquiry with the authorities and asked if investigations would be carried out into violations committed since the coming to power of General Déby. One of the ministers met by the Amnesty International delegation replied that the Commission of Inquiry's report was widely disputed within the government and that if any sanctions were to be taken, then the whole of Chad should be tried.

ii) Amnesty International and Chad

This report is the most recent of the many actions launched by Amnesty International in favour of human rights and against impunity in Chad. The organization has been campaigning for over 30 years against human rights violations in Chad and in support of those who are victims of such violations.

Amnesty International's first campaign for the release of prisoners of conscience held in Chad dates back to the early 1970s, when President Ngarta Tombalbaye was in power. In 1975, after General Félix Malloum's military coup, a representative of the organization went to Chad for the first time to meet members of the government. In 1976 and 1981, Amnesty International strongly condemned executions which were carried out after summary trials.

In 1983 and 1984, Amnesty International reacted to waves of extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" carried out by President Habré's army in southern Chad. It called for clarification on the fate of all those arrested in the towns and villages of the region, on whom there had been no news since. It condemned massacres that took place in September 1984, when hundreds of people living in the south were killed.

In 1985, representatives of Amnesty International went to Chad at the invitation of President Habré. The authorities denied that any extrajudicial executions had occurred and claimed, for example, that six civilians, Abdelkarim Annadif, head of district of the sub-prefecture of Arada, Adoum Announ, teacher and former deputy prefect of Abéché, Abdoulaye Dahiye, teacher and sub-prefect,Adam Issi, teacher, Abdelkarim Malik, civil servant, and Abbo Saleh, arrested in July 1983 in the eastern town of Abéché, of whom nothing had been heard since, were, in fact, still alive and allegedly being held in the north of the country. However, the authorities refused to disclose to Amnesty International where they were being held. The organization was not able to establish their place of detention and whether they really were still alive. Former government officials told Amnesty International that the information about the six men had been fabricated in order to mislead the organization and that they had probably been executed shortly after their arrest(8).

Over the following years, Amnesty International reacted to each wave of arrests, aimed at entire ethnic groups in turn (in 1987, the Hadjeraï, mainly from the prefecture of Guéra in central Chad, then in 1989, the Zaghawa, from the northeast, close to the Sudanese border), and to the murders and "disappearances" of prisoners, particularly at secret detention centres in N'Djaména. The authorities denied that such centres existed.

When Idriss Déby came to power in December 1990, many of the leaders of the new administration already knew about Amnesty International action either because they had been in contact with the organization during their exile or because they or their relatives had been the subject of Amnesty International appeals while in prison. The Commission of Inquiry discovered more than 50,000 letters and postcards from members of Amnesty International in some 25 countries. The Commission publicly thanked the organization for its action. "Thanks to its formidable spirit of human solidarity, Amnesty International gave back hope to thousands of prisoners and their families."

In January 1991, the new president, Idriss Déby, wrote to Amnesty International. He explained that the aim of the Mouvement patriotique du salut(MPS), Patriotic Movement of Salvation, was to give Chad a democratic regime that would guarantee individual freedoms and rights and that his government's watchword was "Never again". These words soon became empty promises.

In March 1991, representatives of the organization went to N'Djaména to take stock of the situation in the country, to establish the needs of former political prisoners, particularly victims of torture, and to discuss measures aimed at preventing further violations. A further visit took place in September 1992 after signs that the situation had once again deteriorated badly. The organization's delegates met senior officials including the head of state and security service chiefs to discuss the organization's concerns. For the first time, they were able to speak with numerous journalists and human rights defenders.

In 1993, Amnesty International mobilised its sections and members worldwide to campaign against the violations in Chad. A report entitled, Chad: Never Again? Killings continue into the 1990s,published in April 1993, documented human rights violations committed since the government of Idriss Déby came to power, and commented on the weighty human rights legacy left by previous governments. In spite of Idriss Déby's promises and the optimism with which Hissein Habré's downfall had been welcomed, the human rights situation remained very serious and in 1995 further deteriorated. Representatives of the organization again went to Chad in 1994 and in 1996 when they investigated, in particular, the abuses committed by the armed forces of the government and also, in zones of conflict, by armed opposition groups. The organization again noted that the systematic practice of impunity was one of the principal factors contributing to the persistence of violations of human rights. It also condemned the negative role played by some other countries, including France and the United States, in supporting the indiscriminate repression committed by government forces.

In May 1998, an Amnesty International observer attended several stages of proceedings against a political opponent, considered by the organization to be a prisoner of conscience, who was accused of defamation, and against two journalists accused of complicity in the defamation.

Since its last visit, the organization has continued to investigate human rights abuses committed by government forces and armed opposition groups, including extrajudicial executions, torture including rape, and threats against human rights defenders and to raise its concerns with the authorities.


Throughout his eight years in power, the authority of Hissein Habré, who himself came to power by force, was challenged by armed opposition groups. However, this context of violent clashes cannot justify the widespread and continual serious human rights violations committed in particular by the Chadian armed forces, both during and after military operations, and by officers of the Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité(DDS).

The Chadian government applied a deliberate policy of terror in order to discourage opposition of any kind. Actual and suspected opponents and their families were victims of serious violations of their rights. Civilian populations were the victims of extrajudicial executions, committed in retaliation for armed opposition groups' actions on the basis of purely ethnic or geographical criteria. Thousands of people suspected of not supporting the government were arrested and held in secret by the DDS. Thousands of people died on DDS premises - killed by torture, by the inhuman conditions in which they were detained or by a lack of food or medical care. Captured combatants and unarmed civilians were extrajudicially executed. Some were shot, others burned alive or poisoned, and others tortured to death or killed by starvation. In the face of this, the international community, including western governments which supported the Habré administration, largely remained silent. Even more seriously, some governments, including those of the United States and France, financed the security forces, supplied arms, trained soldiers and actively collaborated with the intelligence services.

This report, like the documents published by Amnesty International during the 1980s, gives only a brief overview of the violations committed during this period(9). Moreover, Hissein Habré's deliberate strategy of shrouding in secrecy the practices of his agents and, consequently, about the fate of their prisoners, hindered information gathering and verification and case monitoring. If no independent investigations are conducted in the future, the fate of thousands of people will remain unknown and those responsible will never be brought to justice. Furthermore, the climate of terror prevented human rights groups from existing, and transmitting information to the outside was difficult and dangerous. Amnesty International salutes the courage and determination of those people - victims, relatives, witnesses and others - who nevertheless gave evidence about human rights violations both at that time and since.

The violations described in this report are clearly prohibited by international humanitarian law and international treaties. Although, during Hissein Habré's administration, Chad had not acceded to the majority of international treaties for the protection of human rights - with the exception of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, ratified in 1970, and the African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter) ratified in 1986(10) - most of the provisions of these international texts constitute internationally-recognized norms.

Holding people incommunicado and in unofficial detention centres is prohibited by internationally-recognized standards, set out in texts such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The African Charter provides for the protection of fundamental rights: the right to life, the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest or illegal detention, the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time, and the right to freedom of expression. These rights continued to be flouted systematically, even after ratification of the Charter.

i) The Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité(DDS)

"It must be recognised that the DDS's initial mission was progressively modified by the President [Hissein Habré] himself. Initially, the DDS was responsible for security both inside and outside the country and, in particular, for thwarting all Libyan action against Chad. But little by little the President himself gave the DDS a new direction and turned it into an instrument of terror." Saleh Younouss, former director of the DDS.

Before describing the extent of the violations committed under the Habré government, it is appropriate to recall the structure and the close links that bound the principal organ of repression at the time, the Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité(DDS), and the President himself.

The DDS was an instrument wanted and created by President Habré to reinforce his power. It was created in October 1982, four months after Hissein Habré seized power. Article 1 of the decree establishing the DDS provides that this new body is "directly responsible to the office of the President of the Republic because of the confidential nature of its activities". The Commission of Inquiry firmly underlined this link, quoting in its report Djimé Togou, former Minister of the Interior and a member of Hissein Habré's entourage: " everything concerning the DDS is reserved for the President and no person of that time, regardless of his rank or post, can interfere in the business of that office". For instance, the president sent the DDS officers their orders and they reported to him on their activities on a daily basis. The DDS was omnipresent at national level, infiltrating the life of all citizens on every level. It was present in all the country's prefectures and sub-prefectures. It was also active internationally, particularly in surrounding countries, principally through agents appointed as cultural advisers in embassies.

Caption: Organigram of the DDS. ©Private

The fact that within six years the DDS had grown from three to 23 departments gives some idea of the growth in its activities under the Habré government. By the end of Hissein Habré's reign, the DDS employed over 1,000 people in 23 departments, including the investigation service, responsible for gathering information in N'Djaména, the counter-espionage service, responsible for surveillance of all accredited embassies in N'Djaména, the Service mission terroriste(SMT), Terrorist Mission Service, responsible for persecuting and eliminating Chadian opponents abroad, particularly in Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic(11), the Command of the Brigade spéciale d'intervention rapide(BSIR), Special Rapid Intervention Brigade, responsible for carrying out arrests -- which was subsequently accused of significant number of cases of torture and extrajudicial executions -- and the prison service, responsible for managing prison officers. This department is alleged to have selected prisoners for execution(12).

Photo caption: Outside wall of the DDS. ©Amnesty International

Caption: Note signed by Hissein Habré authorizing food to be bought for political prisoners at the DDS. ©Private

The DDS was the main body holding and interrogating political prisoners, and deciding on their fate. This fate was often decided at the highest level of State, without legal proceedings of any kind. Decisions were taken either directly by the President of the Republic, or by the head of the DDS who, until 1989, was a close relative of Hissein Habré. Most political prisoners were held at N'Djaména in secret detention centres, under DDS control. Many prisoners were even held at the presidential palace and others were transferred there to be executed extrajudicially. The President personally oversaw the fate of detainees and personally checked food rations to be received by political prisoners detained at the DDS ( a handwritten note signed by President Habré is reproduced on the previous page).

In 1991, an Amnesty International delegation travelled to N'Djaména and visited DDS detention centres, including the ''Piscine'' (an underground prison which was in fact a converted swimming pool). Former prisoners met by the delegation said that Hissein Habré participated in interrogations and managed the work of the DDS on a daily basis. For example, the DDS allegedly drew up lists of people to be arrested on the basis of information provided by informers. Hissein Habré himself reportedly selected the people to be arrested and authorized arrests on the basis of these lists.

ii) Extrajudicial executions by government forces

President Habré's arrival in power in 1982, was immediately followed by a series of extrajudicial executions of people suspected of belonging to the opposition in Chad. Amnesty International raised these cases and others with President Habré on numerous occasions when he was in power without receiving any response.

The government never acknowledged that the extrajudicial executions described below took place and to Amnesty International's knowledge, no member of the security forces has been brought to justice for these crimes.

The victims fall into four main categories:

  1. armed opposition group combatants and prisoners of war who were captured and shot

  1. actual or presumed opponents who were extrajudicially executed

  1. members of the civilian population, killed in reprisal operations

  1. Chadian refugees killed outside the country or shot after their return, often after having been forcibly repatriated

Armed opposition group combatants and prisoners of war who were captured and shot

Between 1982 and 1984, hundreds of people were captured and subsequently shot by government forces in the context of counter insurgency operations against armed opponents in the south of the country. These acts were committed in contravention of Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions, which states that "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without adverse distinction...".

In 1983, hundreds of combatants and civilian members of the Gouvernement d'union nationale de transition(GUNT), Transitional Government of National Union, the coalition led by Goukouni Oueddeï, were extrajudicially executed. One thousand combatants and civilian members of the GUNT were arrested in July 1983, when government troops recaptured the town of Faya Largeau from the GUNT forces. Numerous witnesses reported that 220 of them were summarily executed in Faya Largeau or during the transfer to N'Djaména, between 20 July and 8 August 1983, that a group of 30 GUNT officers were extrajudicially executed on 11 August 1983, and that a few days later, following the recapture of Faya Largeau by the GUNT, the security services, in retaliation, extrajudicially executed 150 prisoners held at the central prison in N'Djaména, who were allegedly selected at random and killed some 20 kilometres from N'Djaména.

Photo caption: Captured GUNT combatants in 1983. ©Private.

In 1986 it happened again. Around 100 GUNT combatants were captured at Faya Largeau on 2 June by government troops, as well as Libyan soldiers who were fighting alongside them. A considerable number of these prisoners were extrajudicially executed two months later at N'Djaména, after their interrogation by DDS officers. They included Julien Djetanem, a GUNT combatant, arrested at Faya Largeau in April, transferred to N'Djaména and taken on 26 July to DDS headquarters. According to eye-witnesses, he was extrajudicially executed during the night of 28 July 1986, several hours after having been interrogated by President Habré in person at the presidential palace.

Extrajudicial executions of actual or suspected opponents

Some members of armed political groups were abducted abroad or as they tried to cross the border, before being killed in Chad. Abba Ngamani, former Chief of Staff of an armed political group, the Conseil démocratique révolutionnaire(CDR), Democratic Revolutionary Council, was abducted in Kousséri, Cameroon, by members of the DDS in February 1986 and held in secret at DDS headquarters in N'Djaména. According to a former detainee, Abba Ngamani was taken out of his cell during the night of 22 April 1986. He was not seen again.

Kaye Jacob, a customs official and member of an armed political group, was arrested in December 1985 at the border with Cameroon and held in secret at DDS headquarters in N'Djaména. He was extrajudicially executed in mid-1986 at the presidential palace and buried in a mass grave at Hamral-Goz.

Numerous officers and soldiers of the Chadian regular army belonging to the Hadjeraï ethnic group were reportedly extrajudicially executed after a mutiny led by a Hadjeraï officer, Gody Donan, on 26 December 1986, at a garrison at Sarh, Moyen-Chari. Some soldiers involved in the mutiny were reportedly killed after their arrest and transfer to the Camp des martyrsat N'Djaména.

On the night of 28 May 1987, government security forces launched an attack in N'Djaména on the house of an officer, Maldom Bada,suspected of being the leader of an armed movement, the Mouvement pour le salut national au Tchad(MOSANAT), Movement for National Salvation in Chad. Maldom Bada and six of his supporters succeeded in escaping and left the capital. One of his supporters, Djegout Ga, former sub-prefect of Bitkine, was seriously wounded and captured. According to some sources, he was killed the next day at the DDS.

Other opponents were killed at the presidential palace after being arrested. For example, Corporal Daniel Kho, apparently a member of an armed political group, who lived at Kousséri, Cameroon, was arrested in 1986 at Koundoul, Chad, following his alleged participation in a military operation against government troops. Amnesty International received several testimonies stating that Daniel Kho was taken to the presidential palace in N'Djaména, where he was extrajudicially executed.

Numerous former prisoners whom Amnesty International met told how hundreds of detainees were taken out of their cells, put in chains and killed. The bodies were reportedly thrown into the river Chari. Other prisoners, who died from diseases, were reportedly buried in secret graves. Raymond Edouard,Patrice Djancee, Dieudonné, Adoum Mahamat, all accused of being ''codos''(13), were reportedly killed by the DDS in 1986. One prisoner, known as Antoinette, was allegedly killed around 1986, because she was suspected of keeping a record of the number of deaths in detention at the "locaux", the former junior officers mess next to the Société tchadienne d'énergie électrique(STEE), Chadian Electricity Company known as the ''locaux'' (the ''premises"). A former prisoner met by Amnesty International said that he had buried two prisoners, a teacher and a driver, both of whom had suffocated in their cells in the Sabangali district of N'Djaména. According to several testimonies received by Amnesty International, between 1983 and 1987, hundreds of prisoners, reportedly selected from previously prepared lists, were taken out of the central prison at night in groups of 10 to 15. In December 1987, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on summary and arbitrary executions asked the government of Chad to order investigations into allegations that several people had been executed without trial in recent years and to prosecute those responsible. The request went unheeded(14).

Immediately before Hissein Habré left the country, one of the last acts of the Presidential Guard was to extrajudicially execute more than 300 Chadian political detainees and Libyan prisoners of war, held in secret at the presidential palace. Some of the bodies were thrown into the Chari. Many others were found inside the presidential palace after the downfall of the Habré government.

Civilians killed in reprisals

After seizing power, Hissein Habré launched a major offensive designed to crush all opposition from the South. The Forces armées du Nord(FAN), Northern Armed Forces, and other combatants loyal to Hissein Habré committed numerous human rights violations against the people of the South, including influential civilians suspected of having collaborated with the administration of Colonel Abdelkader Kamougué (former Chief of Staff of the Forces armées tchadiennes(FAT), Chadian Armed Forces, and Vice-President of the GUNT before the coming to power of Hissein Habré). Between the months of June and December 1982, approximately 100 people in the region were reportedly killed, particularly in areas which had just come under government control. The government appeared to adopt a scorched earth policy, eliminating the most influential civilians in order to suppress all those likely to rally the opposition in the southern prefectures.

Those killed between July and September 1982 include:Karhyom Ningayo, Prefect of Moundou, Logone-Occidental, who was shot dead in front of his wife and children by Hissein Habré's forces in September 1982. Karhyom Ningayo had fled the fighting in Moundou. When he returned to look for his family, he was extrajudicially executed by members of the armed forces in front of his house. Joseph Ngakoutou, formerly Colonel Kamougué's doctor, was killed by soldiers at Moundou. The sub-Prefect of Bebédjia, Mbida Roassim,who was accused of collaboration with Colonel Kamougué's administration, was also killed. Raymond Matha, an engineer at the Département des Eaux et Forêtsand brother-in-law to Colonel Kamougué, was extrajudicially executed by members of the FAN, three days after their arrival at Sarh, Moyen-Chari, during the night of 29 to 30 August, apparently because of his family links with Colonel Kamougué.

Lieutenant-colonel Kouladoumngar Ngolombaye Allafi, former chief of Staff of the Armée nationale intégrée, National Integrated Army and his deputy, Jérémie Djimadoumbe, were extrajudicially executed by members of FAN shortly after their arrest in October 1982. Lieutenant-colonel Allafi was himself accused of abuses against the local population of Bardai, in the north, while he was sub-Prefect.

Towards the end of August 1984, a number of armed political groups resumed fighting in the South. Opponents based at Doba and at Sarh, in the prefectures of Logone-Occidental and Moyen-Chari, apparently launched new offensives against government installations and economic and military targets in the region. The government's response resulted in widespread human rights violations and hundreds of unarmed civilians - including some suspected of having supported armed opponents or of having sympathised with them - or combatants who were hors de combat, were extrajudicially executed.

The government has never acknowledged that the extrajudicial executions described below took place. It did, however, acknowledge that "unfortunate mistakes" were made in the south, without being more specific. To Amnesty International's knowledge, no member of the security forces was brought to justice for these crimes.

The armed forces and members of the Presidential Guard led by Commander Idriss Déby, current President of Chad and the Army's Chief of Staff at the time, were deployed in the south at the beginning of September 1984(15) and were reportedly responsible for much of the upsurge in killings. At Sahr, capital of Moyen-Chari prefecture, operations against government opponents were reportedly supervised by Mahamat Fadil, former director of national security, heading a team from the DDS, the main political police force. In view of these reports, it is quite probable that senior members of the security forces were aware of the extent of the massacres carried out by government forces in September 1984, and that the massacres were, in fact, perpetrated under orders from them.

On 27 September 1984, at least 80 combatants who had laid down their arms several months earlier in exchange for an amnesty and cash payments, were extrajudicially executed by government troops at Déli, Logone-Occidental. Twenty-one people employed on a state farm, including the farm manager, Belingar Djimibaye, were also extrajudicially executed on that same date.

High-ranking civil servants and heads of communities were killed simply on suspicion of having encouraged anti-government activity in their region. Around 50 political or community leaders, many from the town of Sarh, were extrajudicially executed by governmental forces, or "disappeared" in the south of the country in September 1984.

In Moyen-Chari, the victims included Torina, a police superintendent, Ngartebaye, a police superintendent, Madelngar Odingar, police superintendent of Maro, Matho Oumar, a teacher at the Ahmed Mangué secondary school, and Bandoura Djasrabaye, a civil engineer.

Ndjerang, a primary school teacher and former member of parliament, Ndkerayo,a primary school teacher, Moussa Dhadjmadji, an agricultural engineer and director of a factory belonging to the company Cotontchad, were amongst those killed in Logone-Occidental.

Government troops carried out mass killings in places such as N'Galo, Moyen-Chari, where government soldiers set fire to a church where people were taking refuge and at Danamadji, where the village priest and his family were killed in front of the church and where peasants were killed as they worked in the fields. While passing through Bedaya, Moyen-Chari, soldiers shot at people from their lorries.

In February 1986, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on summary and arbitrary executions submitted these allegations to the government of Chad, calling on the authorities to order an investigation and bring those responsible to justice. No response was communicated to the Special Rapporteur(16).

Many people suspected of collaboration with the MOSANAT in the region of Guéra were killed after being taken prisoner during counter-insurgency operations in June and July 1987, and December 1988. In areas where the counter-insurgency operations took place, many people were burned alive in public in July and August 1987, after their arrest by government forces. Ramadan Assi, head of Wallia village, 25 kilometres south of Bitkine, was reportedly burned alive with another unidentified person. Both were accused by the military of collaboration with MOSANAT. The soldiers arrested the two men, then burned them in front of the villagers, whom they had forced to be present at the executions. Ahmat Abba, a student aged about 17, from Djerba, a village situated 18 kilometres south of Bitkine, was reportedly burned alive in front of his father, who was himself reportedly tortured by soldiers and buried with his head above ground so that he could see his son's execution. The extrajudicial execution of Ahmat Abba appeared to be in reprisal for the activities of his elder brother who was suspected of having joined the ranks of MOSANAT. A number of Hadjeraï villages in Bitkine were also set on fire by government troops in June and July 1987. Two villages, Ambasina et Mataya, were apparently targeted because they were the home villages of two MOSANAT leaders, Haroun Gody and Maldom Bada.

In April 1989, Idriss Déby(17) and a number of influential people from the Zaghawa community were accused of trying to overthrow the government. Following the alleged attempted coup, Idriss Déby left with a number of government troops and established bases in Sudan, where he began to organise a new coalition of armed movements, the Mouvement patriotique du salut(MPS), Patriotic Movement of Salvation, dominated by the Zaghawa(18). Idriss Déby and the MPS returned to Chad in March 1990. In the face of the MPS advance, Hissein Habré's government intensified reprisals against civilians. In April 1990, armed opposition combatants occupied the town of Iriba, close to the border with Sudan, for several days. After the recapture of Iriba, around 6 April, about 24 civilians were arrested and killed by government forces. The bodies were left where they lay for several days and the victims' families were not allow to bury their dead and organize religious ceremonies. Among the victims were Take Hissène andNoura Makoli, Taille Djamousand Fatimi Haroun, and Mahamat Haroun Issaand Hissène Zakaria. Noura Makoli and Fatimi Haroun had family links to Idriss Déby and Hassane Djamous respectively.

Refugees killed outside the country or shot after having been repatriated, often forcibly

On several occasions, refugees who had returned voluntarily to Chad, or who had been forcibly repatriated, were arrested and extrajudicially executed shortly after their return. Others were placed in detention on their arrival in Chad and held for long periods.

Abdoulaye Awidjeli Bichara, a Chadian refugee, was arrested on 21 April 1986 by the security services in N'Djaména, on his return from the Federal Republic of Germany, where he had sought asylum. During his stay in Germany, he had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. In hospital, he took his decision to return. According to eye witnesses, on 25 April, Abdoulaye Awidjeli Bichara was left abandoned in the DDS courtyard. He was dribbling at the mouth and was in a very bad physical condition after being tortured. He died at 2.00pm the same day. The next day, DDS officers reportedly asked two detainees to cover his body with two sacks and hide it in a lorry, which took it to an unknown destination.

Fadoul Bechir Haggar, a member of an armed opposition group, was arrested in 1986 in Chicha, Chad, and held incommunicado at DDS headquarters until 28 February 1986, when he managed to escape. He left Chad and went to live in Cameroon. He later appealed to the Chadian authorities for leniency - more precisely, according to some sources, to Hissein Habré himself - who gave him an assurance that he would be neither arrested nor ill-treated if he returned to Chad. He returned in October 1986 and was immediately arrested by the DDS. He was taken to the presidential palace and killed, then buried in a mass grave at Hamral-Goz.

In September 1988, Bichara Chaïbo, former deputy director of the DDS who had fled to Chad, was arrested on his arrival at N'Djaména airport after being forcibly returned from Togo. He was allegedly extrajudicially executed after being held at the presidential palace for 10 days. He had been arrested in Togo under an Interpol warrant, according to which he was wanted for murder in Chad. Although the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had granted him refugee status, he was sent back to Chad without being given an opportunity to challenge his forced repatriation before a court authority in Togo. Accused of plotting against President Habré, he had escaped a previous arrest and had left Chad in December 1986. Bichara Chaïbo himself had been accused by a number of detainees of acts of torture that he reportedly carried out in the course of his work at the DDS.

In August 1990, several refugees, including Gabriel Daïenhl, a trader, and Jean Anhoul, a priest, were extrajudicially executed by government soldiers one month after their return from Cameroon. They had spent several years in a refugee camp in northern Cameroon. They had no known link with the armed opposition.

In addition to the three categories referred to above, attention should also be drawn to the extrajudicial executions of Chadian members of the military accused of not having fought sufficiently well against the enemy. For instance, in March 1990, after having recaptured the towns of Bahai and Tine, Chadian army officers extrajudicially executed Chadian soldiers who had been taken prisoner by members of the MPS. The authorities in N'Djaména accused them of lacking fighting spirit in the face of the enemy.

iii) Crimes committed during incommunicado detention

Under Hissein Habré, the Chadian authorities disregarded national legislation governing the detention and treatment of political prisoners(19). Detained in secret without charge, they were deprived of their freedom outside the protection of a legal framework. They were neither brought before the public prosecutor (who would have been able to examine the grounds for their detention), nor brought before a court. It was impossible for them to know the reasons for their arrest or to challenge their detention before the courts. Detained in secret, they had no contact with the outside world and no protection from torture.

Anyone suspected of opposition risked being arrested and tortured, often until they died, by the DDS. Most political prisoners were held in secret detention centres under DDS control in N'Djaména in inhuman conditions often equivalent to torture. Their relatives and friends could spend years not even knowing whether they were alive or dead. It was a deliberate strategy to increase the climate of terror and to further intimidate the population. Some people who tried to find out what had happened to a relative who had been arrested had their own rights abused.

The DDS held prisoners in several cells at its headquarters and at various other points in the capital, such as a former French army officers' club and a barracks known as the ''Camp des martyrs''. An underground prison at the DDS, which was in fact a converted swimming pool, was used from 1987. Detainees were imprisoned and tortured there, right next to the USAID (US development agency) office. Some political prisoners were allegedly held at the presidential palace in N'Djaména, some 50 metres from President Habré's residence, where 300 prisoners were reportedly killed just before he fled. Prisoners were also held at the "locaux", and at the Brigade spéciale d'intervention rapide(BSIR), Special Rapid Intervention Brigade.

No political prisoners were tried during Hissein Habré's rule. Prisoners could remain in detention without trial for many years. Although the government had been obliged to confront considerable armed opposition, it is clear that hundreds of detainees, considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience, were arbitrarily imprisoned because of their membership of a particular ethnic group, because they lived in a particular locality, because of family or friendship links with other people who were considered suspect, or because a family member had escaped after being arrested. Their rights, like those of prisoners of war and political prisoners, were systematically flouted.

In 1985, during a visit by an Amnesty International delegation to Chad, the authorities insisted that there were no political prisoners in Chad. They said that the only prisoners were prisoners of war or those suspected of having collaborated with armed opponents. According to the authorities, all these prisoners were held in ''official'' detention centres. They denied, in particular, holding political prisoners in N'Djaména in centres other than the civilian prison. This official version was very far from the truth.

The systematic practice of holding people in secret detention permitted serious human

rights violations to be committed. In addition to the extrajudicial executions referred to above,

there were numerous cases of torture, death in detention and "disappearances".


While Hissein Habré was in power, Amnesty International did not have real confirmation of the fate of the majority of prisoners held incommunicado whose cases the organization raised with the authorities, because the authorities refused to respond to requests for clarification.

However, after Hissein Habré's downfall in 1990, what had been feared so much, unfortunately proved to be true: those who had "disappeared" had died in detention. They had been victims of extrajudicial executions, or had died as a result of torture, or ill-treatment, or hunger, or inhuman conditions of detention. Several hundred political prisoners were released on 1 December 1990 with the arrival of the MPS, after having been held in different detention centres in N'Djaména, many of them in a converted swimming pool at the DDS. Other survivors were found in a house used by the former Minister of the Interior, and in other secret centres. Hundreds of other detainees have never been found and were presumed dead. For example, of the 200 people known to have been arrested in 1989, fewer than 20 were among the released prisoners. The others, like hundreds of Hadjeraï prisoners, had apparently died or been killed in detention. Some of the released prisoners stated that hundreds of people had been killed in secret in 1987 and 1989, many of them at the presidential palace. Among them were 11 brothers of Hassane Fadoul, a high-ranking official of the MPS who became Minister for Co-operation in the government appointed in December 1990.

Photo cpation: Mardié Ibrahim ©Private.

Among the hundreds of "disappearances" investigated by Amnesty International were people arrested because the security forces were looking for their relatives. Mardié Ibrahim, an adolescent girl, was arrested in N'Djaména in about 1985, apparently because of the activities of her mother, Mabrouka Houni Rahil, a business woman who had supplied provisions to GUNT armed forces between 1979 and 1982(20). In July 1987, Mabrouka Houni Rahil, who had left Chad in 1982 when President Habré took power, returned to the country after being assured by the authorities that her daughter would be released. However, Mardié Ibrahim was not released and several weeks later, Mabrouka Houni Rahil was arrested. They were held incommunicado without charge at the "locaux", until their release in March 1989.


Kadi Garboa, a 48-year-old Hadjeraï, was arrested on 15 June 1987 by members of the DDS, apparently because his cousin, who lived with him, had been critical of the government. His cousin had managed to avoid the police and leave the country. According to some sources, Kadi Garboa was shot and injured while resisting arrest. In spite of his injuries, he was taken to a secret detention centre without receiving medical care. Kadi Garboa was an active member of the Union nationale pour l'indépendance et la révolution(UNIR), National Union for Independence and Revolution, the party in power founded by Hissein Habré, which at the time was the only party permitted in Chad. To Amnesty International's knowledge, there has been no news of Kadi Garboa since his arrest.

Two brothers, Abderahmaneand Dari Tchéré, were about 13 at the time of their arrest in July 1987, in Biktine. They were arrested because one of their relatives, considered by the security forces to be an opponent of the government, had managed to escape arrest. After their arrest, Abderahmane and Dari Tchéré were transferred to a secret detention centre in N'Djaména. Another relative, Moussa Gatchelme, was arrested the same day. In January 1991, the new president, Idriss Déby, wrote to members of Amnesty International confirming that Abderahmane and Dari Tchéré had died in detention.

Other people were arrested on ethnic grounds, or for having criticized President Habré. Issa Consul, a trader, aged between 30 and 40, was summoned on 6 June 1987 by members of the DDS in N'Djaména. He was apparently suspected of having criticised the discrimination practised by President Habré against the Hadjeraï community. It does not appear that he was involved in any political activities. His cousin, Ahmat Dadji, a member of the Hadjeraï community, was also arrested on 28 May 1987. They were both held in secret detention in N'Djaména. Their subsequent fate is unknown.


Photo caption: The "arbatachar" form of torture. ©Private.

Under the government of Hissein Habré, the practice of torture was, by all accounts, an "institutional practice" used to extract confessions, to punish or to instil fear. Most of the information in Amnesty International's possession concerning the torture and ill-treatment of detainees under Hissein Habré comes from the accounts of the survivors themselves, or from other detainees. According to survivors, Hissein Habré personally gave the order for certain people to be tortured. Other sources say that he was often present during torture sessions. This information was confirmed by, amongst others, the Commission of Inquiry. The government of Chad and of Hissein Habré consistently denied that torture was practised systematically and at the highest levels of state.

Political prisoners were interrogated as a rule by members of the security service at DDS headquarters in N'Djaména. In some cases, they were interrogated and held at the presidential palace after being tortured. In the majority of the cases brought to the attention of Amnesty International, members of the DDS tortured detainees to obtain information about their political activities and to force them to denounce other suspected opponents.

According to survivors, some of the most common forms of toture were electric shocks, near-asphyxia, cigarette burns and having gas squirted into the eyes. Sometimes, the torturers would place the exhaust pipe of a vehicle in their victim's mouth, then start the engine. Some detainees were placed in a room with decomposing bodies, other suspended by their hands or feet, others bound hand and foot. Two other common techniques consisted of gripping the victim's head between two small sticks joined by cords, which were twisted progressively, (a technique known as the ''supplice des baguettes'', '' torture by sticks'') and leaving the detainees to starve (the ''diète noire'', starvation diet). One prisoner interrogated by the DDS in 1986 told Amnesty International that they had fixed two sticks joined by cords onto the side of his skull, then twisted the cords until the pressure was so great that he had the impression that the top of his head "would burst". Some prisoners were subjected to particularly brutal beatings during their interrogation. One prisoner held at the presidential palace in 1986 reported that people were tortured by being beaten on the soles of their feet. Women held incommunicado were raped and subjected to other sexual abuse. One woman, married to a former officer in the national army who joined MOSANAT, was arrested in April 1987. She was tortured by DDS officers DDS who put chilli on her genitals.

Djibrine Binayewas arrested in August 1986 and taken to the Commissariat du Marché, a police station in N'Djaména market, then to the Gendarmerie, to the DDS, and finally to the "locaux", from where he escaped. He was tortured at the Commissariat du Marchéand at the DDS. At the Commissariat, he was forced to drink a huge quantity of water and then brutally beaten about the stomach. At the DDS he was given electric shocks. He was apparently suspected of having links with the armed opposition.

Mahamat Sidi Baby, a former army officer, was abducted in Kousséri, Cameroon in April 1986 by Chadian agents who forced him to return to N'Djaména. According to his evidence, he was held in a room behind the DDS. He was interrogated three times. The interrogations were led by the director of the DDS who reportedly told him that his abduction had been ordered by Hissein Habré. The interrogations related to his supposed links with the GUNT. During these interrogations, he was given electric shocks in his ears and on his genitals and was subjected to the "supplice des baguettes", which made his nose bleed profusely. After 15 days in detention, he escaped. After his escape, close relatives - his sister, Mariam Sidi Babyand her two-year-old daughter, Aïssatou, his brother, Abbas Sidi Baby, and his aunt and his uncle, FalmataandMoussa Konate- were arrested in his place. With the exception of Moussa Konate, they were released after several months in detention. In 1989 Amnesty International received information that Moussa Konate died late in 1988 or early in 1989. His death was confirmed in February 1991 in a letter sent to an Amnesty International member by the Commissioner for the Promotion of Women and Social Affairs.

Several people suspected of having links with Saleh Gaba (a journalist who was himself suspected of links with MOSANAT) and with MOSANAT were arrested in Mongo on 17 June 1987. Another person, ''M'',(21) escaped, but was arrested at Billi, 200 kilometres from N'Djaména, in January 1988. He said that he was taken, his hands bound and wearing a blindfold, to DDS headquarters in N'Djaména, where he was brutally tortured. During his first day in detention, he was undressed and systematically beaten with a heavy stick. After a week in detention, DDS officers interrogated him, trying to make him confess to links with well-known members of the opposition, including Saleh Gaba, but he denied being a member of MOSANAT or having any links with the opposition. He was then made to lie down on the ground and three officers tortured him. One officer held his feet on the ground, the second, his head, while the third whipped him. Several days later, he was forced to drink an enormous quantity of water containing chilli pepper. This treatment was stopped when he was on the point of choking. Three weeks later, in the middle of the night, he was subjected to a further torture session at which, he reported, Hissein Habré himself was present. This time, with his hands bound together and wearing a blindfold, he was subjected to a series of electric shocks for approximately half an hour. He was again asked to confess his links with MOSANAT. The interrogation reportedly ended on the orders of Hissein Habré once ''M'' acknowledged the accusation of links with the opposition.

During his detention, ''M'' witnessed the use of electric shocks on other prisoners arrested on similar grounds. According to him, a young law student, whom he knew as Rolengar,was subjected to electric shocks following his arrest on 27 February 1987. He was accused of having written a letter to the "codos"in the South. On 29 February 1987, officers came to take him from his cell and reportedly put him into a sack. He was not seen again. According to numerous reports by detainees, people who were put into sacks were later thrown into the Chari. Another person, Djim Sangar, a physical education teacher in Moundou, accused of having links with the "codos", was held in the same cell; he, too, was tortured with electricity.

In May 1990, a former detainee who had been released in December 1989, gave an account of his detention to Amnesty International. Held incommunicado without charge for two years in N'Djaména, he had been in several places of detention - at the Documentation, the ''Piscine'', the Camp des martyrsand the "locaux". Five months after his release, still traumatised, he was still suffering the physical effects of torture and was only slowly regaining the use of his hands. His hand and feet had been tied behind his back and a stick used to tighten the rope even more. He had been tied up and tortured like this for hours, and still had scars on his wrists and ankles. This practice puts the chest and stomach under extreme pressure and prevents the blood circulating to the hands and feet. According to him, detainees were tortured at the ''piscine'' and at the Camp des martyrs. On being transferred to the "locaux", many detainees died as a result of torture or malnutrition. Others were taken out of their cells at night and never seen again. This witness believed that all of them had been killed.

Photo caption: December 1990: A DDS survivor ©Private.

Torture and ill-treatment was not limited to places of detention. Amnesty International received information on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment during military operations. For example, in March 1985, two military police officers went to Barh Andouma, north of Zakouma, where a group of nomads had gathered. The officers rounded them up and ordered soldiers who were accompanying them to beat them. Afterwards, the two officers ordered the men to rape their daughters or their sisters, saying that if they refused they would kill them. One man who allegedly tried to refuse, was reportedly forced to rape his daughter with a soldier standing by him, shooting into the air. The prefect, who was subsequently transferred to the south of the country, allegedly lodged an official protest, but after Hissein Habré's intervention, the two officers reportedly continued in service without any punishment.

iv) Deaths in detention

Numerous prisoners died as a result of the inhuman conditions of detention, lack of, or poor quality of food, total deprivation of food, deplorable hygiene and medical care, untended injuries, contagious diseases and suffocation.

One prisoner who was held at the presidential palace in the mid 1980s described his detention in a cell approximately 25 metres square, packed together with dozens of other prisoners. Former prisoners have recounted that in the mid 1980s, in the central prison in N'Djaména, the bodies of dead companions were left in the cells for hours or even days. The stench was unbearable and this practice increased the fear and suffering of the prisoners who survived. According to the statement of one former detainee, the DDS cells measured approximately 5 x 3 metres and were so overcrowded that prisoners could not lie down. The majority were ill. There was neither light nor windows. The only ventilation came from small holes in the wall. The lavatory consisted of one bucket that was emptied once a day. Detainees received one meal a day - sweetened rice and water. According to a former DDS officer whom Amnesty International met, prisoners of war ate only once every two days. At the Camp des martyrs, 10 cells were for DDS prisoners. When the ceiling of one cell fell in at the end of the rainy season in October 1987, dozens of prisoners are said to have been killed. Their identity has never been revealed. Attached to the Commission of Inquiry's report are the daily logs of the DDS and BSIR places of detention. The mortality rate is horrifying: on 21 March 1986, 32 prisoners of war died, on 7 April 1986, 12, on 11 April 1986, 33, on 1 May 1986, 11, and the following day, another 10 prisoners of war and one detainee also died.

According to former detainees, Saleh Gaba, a journalist and correspondent for an international press agency, who was arrested in June 1987, reportedly died in detention at the DDS in 1988, apparently as a result of torture and poor detention conditions. At the beginning of 1988, he was already said to be seriously ill and suffering from depression as a result of ill-treatment. He reportedly died around the middle of that year. In August 1987, the ambassador of the Republic of Chad to the United States informed members of Amnesty International that Saleh Gaba was accused of illegal possession of weapons and murder, and said that he was enjoying all the rights of a prisoner of his category. Other sources say that the authorities suspected Saleh Gaba of having links with MOSANAT, and were looking for him from September 1986. Saleh Gaba began to live in hiding in N'Djaména and, in spite of assurances given to intermediaries by the authorities, including Hissein Habré and the Director of the DDS, that he had nothing to fearhe decided to leave N'Djaména for reasons of security. When he arrived in Mongo, Guéra prefecture, he was assisted by a nurse,Gashouk Gody, who hid him. When an army officer recognized Saleh Gaba at Gashouk Gody's house, Gashouk Gody was arrested and killed, and Saleh Gaba arrested and taken to the presidential palace, then to the Camps des martyrs.

Photo caption: Saleh Gaba. ©Private.

In July 1988, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on Summary or Arbitrary Executions wrote to the government of Chad on the subject of allegations that several people had died in secret detention centres following ill-treatment. The Special Rapporteur noted: "Among the alleged causes of death are a lack of medical care, totally inadequate food, a lack of water, poor ventilation of overcrowded cells, brutality and other ill-treatment."The Special Rapporteur requested information on these allegations, in particular on investigations into them, including autopsy reports and on the steps taken by the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent further deaths. The Chadian authorities did not reply(22).

v) Persecution of ethnic groups

On numerous occasions, Hissein Habré's agents carried out mass arrests of people from different ethnic groups who for one reason or another were considered suspect.

At least 180 people belonging to the Hadjeraï ethnic group, many of whom were former sympathisers of the government of Hissein Habré, were arrested in May, June and July 1987, following protests by members of the Hadjeraï ethnic group in N'Djaména at the death of an aged dignitary of their community. The community accused Hissein Habré of being responsible for his death, saying that the dignitary had been poisoned by a member of the security forces. The community also complained about privileges granted by President Habré to members of his own ethnic group. Two Hadjeraï members of the government, the Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Planning, and the Secretary of State with responsibility for General Inspectorate and State Control, Haroun Gody, were relieved of their duties following this protest. A wave of arrests followed, mainly in N'Djaména. Hadjeraï officers of theForces armées nationales tchadiennes(FANT), Chadian National Armed Forces, were also arrested. None were tried and it appears that the majority were arrested simply because they were members of the Hadjeraï community. It seems that the government seized the opportunity to punish an ethnic group for the activities of a coalition of armed groups, MOSANAT, dominated by the Hadjeraï, which had been active since the end of 1986.

Similarly, in April 1989, following an alleged attempted coup d'État by Hassane Djamous, a former commander of the Chadian army, Idriss Déby, former adviser to Hissein Habré, and Ibrahim Mahamat Itno, Minister of the Interior, the government carried out a wave of arrests of people from the Zaghawa ethnic group in the capital and in the north west of the country. More than 200 members of the Zaghawa community were arrested and held in detention from April and May 1989. The majority died in detention. Many of them were arrested arbitrarily because of their family links with other opponents of the government or because of their ethnic origins. After the alleged attempted coup d'État, Idriss Déby escaped to Sudan. Hassane Djamous, who was injured, was captured and arrested. He died shortly afterwards in circumstances yet to confirmed. Among the others arrested were Hissène Mahamat Itno, brother of the Minister of the Interior, who was himself arrested and allegedly killed in detention shortly after his arrest.


Despite the promises of Idriss Déby, shortly after he came to power, to put a stop to human rights violations, the same practices, the same violations and even the same perpetrators reappeared. Scarcely a few months after his coming to power, murders and mass arrests were reported once more and torture and "disappearances" again reported from the very detention centres that had, a short time before, echoed to the cries of Hissein Habré's opponents. This section aims to illustrate the types of human rights violations committed since the coming to power of Idriss Déby, and the link between these violations and the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of violations committed in the past(23).

Initially, however, the attitude of the new government gave room for hope of genuine change. The secret police - the DDS - was disbanded. Those political prisoners who were still alive were released. An official inquiry was opened into past human rights violations. The government also undertook to install a multiparty system without delay and organize free elections. For the first time in years, the creation of political parties, trade unions and independent organizations was permitted. Human rights organizations began to work openly.

The fact that foreign governments continued to supply arms without taking account of the violations certainly contributed to the abuses that have been committed since 1990, and the impunity enjoyed by most agents of the state alleged to have been implicated in the violations committed under Habré, has been another decisive factor.

The best way to illustrate this impunity is perhaps to record what has become of certain members of the DDS, disbanded by Idriss Déby on coming to power. The DDS was replaced, initially, by the Centre de recherche et de coordination de renseignements(CRCR), Centre for Research and Co-ordination of Intelligence, then by the Agence nationale de sécurité(ANS), National Security Agency, placed under the direct responsibility of the President of the Republic. Changing its name did nothing to modify its repressive nature. Moreover, some senior DDS officials, implicated by the Commission of Inquiry, and suspected of being responsible for extrajudicial executions and torture, were employed by the ANS. It is hardly surprising therefore that the ANS repeated the practices it inherited from the DDS and the CRCR and that it should, itself, be frequently accused of human rights violations.

Since 1990, Chad's security forces have been involved in hundreds of extrajudicial executions and other human rights abuses such as "disappearances", and acts of torture including rape. To Amnesty International's knowledge, no member of the security forces has been brought to justice for these crimes. The authorities of Chad have refused to investigate and bring to justice members of the security forces who have been responsible for flagrant violations of human rights since 1990. This same incapacity has also made it possible for agents of the state, responsible for atrocities under the government of Hissein Habré, to escape justice, and many have continued in post. Although in 1995 Chad acceded to major human rights treaties, the authorities of Chad have not met their obligations since then, and the protection offered by such treaties remains theoretical(24).

Like Hissein Habré, Idriss Déby soon found himself confronted by an armed opposition. As under Hissein Habré, the reaction of the authorities consisted largely of launching reprisals against the civilian population.

In August 1992, about 100 people suspected of being sympathetic to an armed opposition group that had launched an attack were massacred by the Chadian army in the town of Doba. The massacre continued for several days. Six secondary school pupils and a six-year-old girl, Mingue Oudaya, were killed by soldiers, who also looted the town. Again in August 1992, around 100 gendarmes surrounded a mosque in Diguel-Est, a district of the capital, in an operation to arrest Faky Ali Ahmat, a Koranic teacher. Faky Ali Ahmat refused to give himself up and announced his intention to present himself to the Minister of the Interior the following day. The gendarmes contacted the Minister, who ordered his immediate arrest. Having already obtained permission to use their firearms in the event of resistance, the gendarmes threw teargas into the mosque, where Faky Ali Ahmat was praying with his followers, forcing them to run out of the mosque. As they came out, the gendarmes opened fire, even though Faky Ali Ahmat apparently came out waving a white scarf and pleading with them not to shoot. He was shot in the stomach, then beaten to death with pieces of wood. Six people, including a 14 year-old child,Deye Yabiss, were killed at the mosque. A seventh victim, a young boy, died shortly afterwards from his injuries. Eight others were wounded. No independent enquiry has been completed. An investigation instituted by the public prosecutor was unable to continue because the Gendarmerie refused to co-operate.

In January 1993, at least 45 civilians were also killed in and around the town of Gore, apparently in retaliation for offensives led by armed opponents in the region. In August 1994, following an ambush organised against members of the armed forces by the Forces armées pour la République fédérale(FARF), Armed Forces for the Federal Republic, an armed opposition group present in the south, led by Laoukein Bardé, the Republican Guard forced the inhabitants of a number of villages in Logone-Occidental to assemble, before picking out about 30 civilians, including at least two children, and killing them. In October 1997, at least 80 people arbitrarily suspected of supporting the FARF were killed by the security forces at Moundou. In March 1998, more than 100 people were killed in the prefectures of Logone-Occidental and Logone-Oriental, including 16 village chiefs, who were shot by the security forces because of the presumed presence of armed opposition groups.

Photo caption: Displaced villagers fleeing military operations in Logone orientale prefecture in 1994. ©Private.

As had been the case under the Habré government, the security forces have been responsible not only for extrajudicial executions in areas of conflict, they have also arbitrarily executed people known for their peaceful opposition to the government, people who had denounced violations of human rights, and opponents who had been repatriated - often under duress -from neighbouring countries.

The government of Idriss Déby has taken no steps to prevent these serious violations of human rights or, in particular, the use of torture. Human rights organizations and former prisoners whom an Amnesty International delegation met in 1996 confirmed that torture and ill-treatment were again widespread throughout Chad. The evidence of a former detainee, released without charge after several months in prison because he was suspected of belonging to an armed opposition group, shows the extent to which torture had become commonplace in Chad:

''I wasn't tortured, I only have scars on my arms as a result of the "arbatachar"that lasted for more than five hours. The others who were held with me suffered a lot''.

Arbatacharconsists of tying the victim's arms behind his back at elbow level (this pushes the torso forward), then tying the feet and the arms together. In some cases, only the arms are tied. This inhuman treatment, which causes extreme pain, was considered to be so common that victims no longer thought of it as torture. Another person, also suspected of collaboration with the armed opposition, said that he had been tortured in order to "make him tell the truth". They had placed two iron rulers, joined at their ends by elastic bands, on either side of his head. Using a third piece of metal, they then rhythmically beat the rulers, causing vibrations that were, according to the victim, comparable to electric shocks.

Photo Caption: Victims of extrajudicial execution in Fianga, Mayo Kebbi prefecture in December 1996. ©Private.

Torture techniques used under Hissein Habré reappeared under Idriss Déby. In 1996, among the most common tortures described by both victims and witnesses, involved prisoners having chili powder inserted in their nostrils, eyes, and mouth; prisoners being forced to drink huge quantities of water, then being beaten; people being tied up in the arbatacharmanner, and sometimes being tied to the back of a vehicle and dragged several hundred metres, and people who had been subjected to psychological torture and had received death threats during their interrogations.

The aim of the government appears to have been to silence any voice critical of its repressive practices. A Commission nationale des droits de l'homme(CNDH), National Human Rights Commission, made up of both government and non-government representatives, was set up in 1994. The Chadian authorities did their utmost to reduce its powers, in particular by allocating it an inadequate budget and making access to the CNDH difficult - its offices were located in the Palais du 15 janvier(National Assembly), under the close surveillance of the security forces and inaccessible to the majority of victims. Despite this lack of resources, the Commission carried out several investigations in 1995 and 1996, but its recommendations were not implemented.

Human rights defenders have been victims of harassment, assassination and intimidation; in February 1992, Jospeh Behidi, of the Ligue tchadienne des droits de l'homme(LTDH), Chadian Human Rights League, was extrajudicially executed; in September 1997, Sosthène Ngargoune, President of the Union des journalistes tchadiens, Union of Chadian Journalists, was violently beaten at the Gendarmerie in Moundou; in March 1998, threats were made against Dobian Assingar of the LTDH, following an appeal by human rights groups to protest against the massacres of civilians perpetrated by government forces and armed opposition groups. In 1999, several members of human rights groups were held for brief periods solely, it seems, on the grounds of their condemnation of human rights violations. They also received death threats. In 1998, Amnesty International condemned on numerous occasions the lack of freedom of expression in Chad, and in particular the detention of a parliamentarian, Yorongar Ngarléjy le Moïban, who was convicted of defamation after the publication of an article in a newspaper, L'Observateur, in which Yorongar accused Wadal Abdelkader Kamougué, President of the National Assembly, of corruption. In addition,Sy Koumbo Singa Gali, a female journalist and newspaper editor, and Polycarpe Togamissi, a collaborator of the newspaper, were found guilty of complicity in the defamation. Other journalists includingGaronde Djarama, of N'Djaména Hébdo, and Michaël Didama, acting editor of the newspaperLe Temps,were given six month suspended prison sentences after being found guilty of defamation in late 2000 and early 2001. The case against Michaël Didama, who was also ordered to pay substantial damages, was brought by a nephew of President Déby following an article published in Le Tempsreporting that a number of attempted coups d'État had taken place, led by people close to President Déby.

The respect of human rights is still far from being guaranteed and new violations were committed during the electoral campaign (presidential elections were held in May 2001) and during demonstrations protesting at the announcement of President Déby's victory in the first round(25). Confronted by peaceful demonstrations, the security forces used excessive force. Brahim Selguet, an opposition activist, was killed by police as they violently dispersed an opposition meeting. Jacqueline Moudeina, a member of the Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits de l'homme (ATPDH), Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights and lawyer of the International Committee for the Trial of Hissein Habré, was injured during a peaceful demonstration by women in front of the French Embassy. Six opposition leaders were arrested, two of whom were tortured, and peaceful demonstrations dispersed in a violent manner. No investigation into these new violations has been ordered.


Through their action and their support, particulary with regard to military, security and police transfers, some countries, including France and the United States, facilitated human rights violations in Chad. These countries have had a major influence in Chad since the 1980s.

The events which affected Chad under Hissein Habré were to a great extent hidden from world opinion. Despite pressure from the UN and Amnesty International's constant lobbying, the government turned a deaf ear and refused to meet investigators. It limited itself to denying all information relating to extrajudicial executions or "disappearances". If the government of Chad was able to conceal such serious human rights violations in this way, it was, in part, due to the fact that the international community did little to call it to account. The Organization of African Unity expressed concern at the extent of the conflict between Libya and Chad, but made no statements condemning the human rights situation, the use of torture and extrajudicial executions in Chad.

On numerous occasions, foreign troops were sent to Chad to support the government of Hissein Habré within the framework of an alliance against Libya. After Hissein Habré came to power, conflict continued in the north east border region between his followers and forces loyal to the former president Goukouni Oueddeï. Both camps were supported by foreign governments. While the Gouvernement d'union nationale de transition(GUNT), the coalition led by Goukouni Oueddeï, enjoyed the support of Libya, the government of Hissein Habré received help from French and Zairian troops. In 1987, war broke out between Chad and Libya and there was fighting in the north of Chad for control of the Aozou Strip. That year, 1,200 French soldiers were stationed in Chad. Thanks to French and American military support, the Chadian forces were able to recapture the north of Chad.

Some governments endeavoured to reinforce the expertise and firepower of the security forces which were massacring and torturing unarmed civilians. In addition to financing Hissein Habre's forces, some countries supplied them with security and police equipment. Some members of the Sécurité présidentielle(SP), Presidential Security Force - an elite unit frequently accused of human rights violations - were trained in Chad by French army officers. The officers of the SP commanded some of the security forces and supervised the activities of the DDS. France also accepted Chadian officers, including Guihini Korei, director of the DDS, and nephew of President Habré, at the École de Guerre(military academy) in 1989. Amat Allatchi, Guihini Korei's successor, received training at the École des commissaires(police academy) in Lyon. Chadian officers also underwent training in the US and in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), whose government of former President Mobutu Sese Seko enjoyed the support of the US. High-ranking officers of the DDS were allegedly trained by members of the US services, both in Chad and in the US. According to former DDS officers, France, through the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure(DGSE), (the French Secret Service), was informing Hissein Habré's services of the movements of Chadian opponents abroad.

The Commission of Inquiry set up by Idriss Déby's government indicated that the US was supplying Hissein Habré's security forces with means of transport, weapons, clothing and communications equipment, while France, Egypt, Iraq and Zaire were contributing to financing, training and equipping the DDS, with whom they were exchanging intelligence. Again according to the Commission of Inquiry, in 1988 the United States granted the DDS monthly aid of five million CFA francs for its expenditure on fuel and the salaries of its officers. The Commission made public a letter dated 30 June 1988 in which the DDS requested the United States Embassy in N'Djaména to double the amount of this aid. The Commission of Inquiry believes that this request was probably met in 1989. According to the Commission, US advisers went regularly to the office of the director of the DDS, either to give advice or to exchange intelligence, and it seems reasonable to believe that they were aware of the torture of prisoners held at the DDS, particularly since the DDS premises were right next to the USAID building, from where it would have been possible to hear the screams of torture victims. The DDS was also part of a network known as "Mosaïque", ''Mosaic'', made up of the security services of the Côte d'Ivoire, Israel, Chad, Togo, the Central African Republic, Zaire and Cameroon. The aim of Mosaïque, which was financed by the United States, was to facilitate exchanges of intelligence, the implementation of joint operations and surveillance of opponents to governments (in particular through extradition). Opponents of the government of Chad were killed in Cameroon and in the Central African Republic. Other were arrested in or abducted from Togo or Cameroon and detained or killed in N'Djaména.

Chad has been a major beneficiary of US military assistance in Africa. This support was maintained and even increased throughout the Habré administration. Assistance was given principally through the International Military Education and Training Program (IMET) and the Military Assistance Program (MAP).

The aims of this military assistance were set out in a document presented to the US Congress in 1987:

"The objectives of the proposed IMET program are: to help the Chadian military develop the systems and operational and maintenance expertise needed for effective management, to encourage an indigenous training capability, and to promote a better understanding of the U.S. and demonstrate out commitment to democratic principles and human rights(26)."

In 1998, Congress was informed that the US authorities had "provided $25 million in emergency military equipment and services under section 506(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act. Additional emergency aid was authorised in 1986 and 1987. These emergency funds and our MAP (Military Assistance Program) have enabled provision of three C-130A aircraft, ammunition, Redeye missiles, grenade launchers, rifles, four-wheel drive vehicles and support for previously acquired U.S. equipment." The same document estimated that in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 respectively, seven, 11, four and six million US dollars had been spent on "military deliveries".

None of the documents presented to Congress and consulted by Amnesty International covering the period from 1984 to 1989 make any reference to human rights violations.

Given such an apparent level of alliance and co-operation with the security forces, it is impossible to believe that the foreign governments that supported Hissein Habré were not aware of the serious violations committed by the Chadian security forces. When the Commission of Inquiry published its report in May 1992, not one of the countries mentioned appears to have sought to deny the complicity of its agents in human rights violations committed when Hissein Habré was in power.

Furthermore, foreign governments failed to protect nationals of Chad who sought refuge abroad. Several dozens of Chadians who returned voluntarily from exile, in some cases with the assistance of the UNHCR, were arrested shortly after their arrival. Some of them were held without trial in secret detention, others killed by government forces.

Since 1991, the government of Idriss Déby and the security forces have continued to benefit from considerable support from some foreign countries. In spite of the fact that the Chadian authorities were responsible for human rights violations, the French and US governments authorized the transfer of equipment and expertise in the military and security areas to the Chadian security forces. In addition, China, Algeria and Sudan have apparently provided military aid to Chad since the arrival of Idriss Déby. At the end of 1994, the US authorities suspended the greater part of their programme of free military aid to Chad because the Chadian government had not brought perpetrators of human rights violations to justice. Furthermore, Chadian officers were reported to have received theoretical and practical training in the US in the promotion and protection of human rights. Between 1991 and November 1994, Chad was the first beneficiary of French military aid in Africa. In June 2000, France and Chad signed a financing agreement which, according to the French embassy in N'Djaména, will make it possible to provide radio telecommunications resources for the headquarters of the gendarmerie in N'Djaména, as well as for the headquarters of 11 regions and 46 territorial brigades, and in February 2001, three financing agreements for an amount of two million French francs, for the security, health and rural development sectors.


The campaign against impunity is an integral part of the work of Amnesty International. The organization is firmly convinced that the persistence of impunity is often at the heart of armed conflict and constitutes one of the principal causes of human rights abuses. Chad, which has lived through many armed conflicts and massive human rights abuses, is still paying the price of overwhelming impunity. In the decades that followed independence, serious human rights violations, often associated with a series of armed conflicts, were committed with total impunity.

The setting up of a Commission of Inquiry in 1990 is still the only attempt of those currently in power in Chad to shed light on acts committed under the government of Hissein Habré. However, despite the considerable work of the Commission of Inquiry and the subsequent work carried out by Chadian human rights groups, no-one has been tried and the truth remains at least partly hidden. The government of Idriss Déby has shown itself to be reluctant to bring legal proceedings against those responsible in the previous government - fearful, no doubt, of seeing some of its own members directly implicated. Moreover, to Amnesty International's knowledge, none of the violations committed since 1990 by the security forces under the presidency of Idriss Déby have been the subject of impartial investigations. The justice system in Chad is still subject to political pressure and is not keen to call to account and try members of the present armed forces who have been responsible for flagrant violations of human rights.

The year 2000 saw the kindling of a hope that impunity is coming to an end as the violations committed under Hissein Habré were for the first time the subject of legal proceedings. The charges brought against Hissein Habré in Dakar were therefore of particular importance in that they constituted a first, major, step in seeking justice for the violations of the past. The extent of the violations committed under the presidency of Hissein Habré, together with the impunity that has encouraged so many other people since his fall from power, shows more than ever the need and the vital importance of shedding light of these violations and bringing those responsible to justice, without resorting to the death penalty.

Although disappointed with the decision of the Senegalese courts, human rights militants and the victims or their families and friends in Chad and throughout the world can find comfort in the fact that the possibility still exists for them to prosecute Hissein Habré and his collaborators both at international level and in Chad and in the fact that the Convention against Torture obliges each signatory state, including Senegal, to try or extradite anyone suspected of acts of torture who may be present on their territory, regardless of their nationality and the country in which the crimes have been committed. The stance taken recently by President Abdoulaye Wade when he clarified that he was ready to allow Hissein Habré to leave to a country ''capable of organizing a fair trial'' shows that the most senior representatives of the Senegalese State have decided to contribute to the fight for the creation of an international system of justice which will end impunity for the perpetrator of serious human rights violations.

Amnesty International calls on the government of Chad and the international community to respect their moral and legal obligations and to take action, without resorting to the death penalty, against those responsible for violations of human rights, including any which have not been described in this document.


To the Senegalese authorities

Amnesty International calls on the Senegalese authorities:

  1. to introduce the necessary legal reforms to make Senegalese law comply with international treaties, especially by incorporating all the provisions of the Convention against Torture into its own law, in particular the provisions laid down in articles 5 and 7 of the Convention;

  1. to prevent Hissein Habré from leaving Senegal, other than under the terms of an extradition order;

  1. to extradite Hissein Habré, on condition that this would not subject him to the risk of an unfair trial, the death penalty or any other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the country where he would be tried, in accordance with articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the Convention against Torture;

  1. in accordance with their obligations, to submit to the United Nations Committee against Torture a report on the steps they have taken to give effect to their commitments under the Convention against Torture;

  1. to abolish the 10-year statute of limitations in relation to prosecuting acts of torture.

To the Chadian authorities

Amnesty International calls on the authorities of Chad:

  1. to collaborate with the International Committee for the trial of Hissein Habré so that a thorough and impartial investigation be made into the allegations made by the Committee and the persons responsible for these crimes be brought to justice and be given a fair trial, without being exposed to the risk of the death penalty or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;

  1. to take steps to protect the witnesses and investigators from intimidation, arrest and attempts on their lives;

  1. to set up a fund to compensate victims of human rights abuses;

  1. to respect their obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture, the African Charter and international humanitarian law, and in particular common article 3 to the Geneva Conventions and Protocol II, and to respect the requirements of other international standards on human rights;

  1. to undertake thorough and independent investigations into any information relating to extrajudicial executions, "disappearances" or torture, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice;

  1. to continue to consolidate the administration of justice so that it is able to operate with complete independence.

To the international community

Amnesty International also calls on the international community to:

  1. publicly to condemn all human rights abuses that have been and continue to be committed in Chad, whether by the security forces or by armed opposition groups;

  1. to request the government of Chad to provide information on the most recent action taken to prevent human rights abuses, together with details of investigations and court proceedings instituted against those responsible;

  1. to keep up pressure on the government of Chad to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, to bring those responsible to justice, ensuring that they are given a fair trial, without the threat of the death penalty;

  1. not to supply military equipment or other military assistance likely to aggravate the human rights situation in Chad;

  1. to offer Chad's justice system technical and material assistance to strengthen its capacity to investigate past and future violations;

  1. to support and promote national and international non-governmental organizations working for the protection of civil and political rights and for the protection of social, economic and cultural rights.


Forty years of unrest

Since independence in 1960, Chad has experienced the almost incessant ravages of civil war and multiple insurrections. Successive governments in the capital, N'Djaména,were unable to impose their authority in various regions of the country while facing uprisings by armed groups in the areas theorectically under their control. Consequently, numerous regions have lived through repeated uprisings carried out by warlords supported by considerable numbers of battle-hardened and often well-armed fighters(27). This struggle for power which has always chosen violence rather than the ballot box, has resulted in large-scale human rights abuses mostly against the Chadian civilian population which has been at the mercy of the various armed groups operating in their area. Other countries, including France, have intervened on several occasions during the past four decades.

In the mid-1960s, the first President of Chad, Ngarta Tombalbaye, who showed little respect for human rights, was confronted with an uprising in the north of the country. The uprising developed into civil war towards the end of the 1970s. The insecurity culminated in a coup in which President Tombalbaye was killed.

The unrest was concentrated in the north of the country, where the Front de libération nationale du Tchad (FROLINAT), Chad National Liberation Front, a coalition of two armed opposition groups – the Forces armées populaires(FAP), the People's Armed Forces, led by Goukouni Oueddeïand the Forces armées du Nord( FAN), the Northern Armed Forces, led by Hissein Habré– headed a rebellion against the central government led by General Félix Malloum. 1976 saw a split in the alliance between Goukouni Oueddeï and Hissein Habré, and two years later, the latter was named as General Malloum's Prime Minister. Six months later, conflict between the two leaders of Chad's executive, caused civil war in the capital. The FAP renewed their alliance with the FAN to fight against the Forces armées tchadiennes, Chadian Armed Forces, the national army. FROLINAT took over control of N'Djaména.

In April 1979, a Gouvernement d'union nationale de transition(GUNT), Transitional Government of National Unity, a coalition of several political groups, led by Goukouni Oueddeï, was formed. He ruled the country until 1982. However, by 1980 Goukouni Oueddeï's authority was challenged by Prime Minister Habré who resumed the armed struggle.

The Hissein Habré years (1982-1990)

In June 1982, troops loyal to Hissein Habré, the FAN, occupied N'Djaména. The FAN also conquered the south of the country which had previously been under the control of another armed group, the Forces armées tchadiennes (FAT), Chadian Armed Forces, ofAbdelkader Kamougué. Hissein Habré became President of the Republic. Four months after coming to power he created the Direction de Documentation et de Sécurité(DDS), Directorate for Documentation and Security, which had responsibility for the surveillance and arrest of political opponents.

Nevertheless, many supporters of former President Goukouni Oueddeï still considered the GUNT as the only legitimate government. While Hissein Habré received support from France and Congo (Zaïre), Goukouni Oueddeï took advantage of Libyan support to launch attacks on Chad from his base in Bardai, in the north of the country. During 1983 and 1984 there was fighting between the GUNT and the government army in the north and east of the country. In 1983, French and Congolese (Zaïrian) troops were deployed in some regions to support Habré's government and to contain the advance of GUNT troops.

From the mid-1980s, the armed conflicts appeared to be resolved and many of President Habré's opponents joined the government. However, although the Chadian government continued to state publicly that, in line with its policy of national reconciliation, refugees, supporters of opposition groups, and non-violent opponents had nothing to fear from the authorities, many former opponents were arrested as they returned. During this period, the government sought to form separate alliances with the armed opposition groups by promising them posts in government.

In late 1986 and early 1987, alliances shifted and FAP fighters began to rejoin the FAN. This alliance concided with a disagreement between the FAP leader and the Libyan government. Civil war between the supporters of Goukouni Oueddeï and the Chadian security forces led in turn to war between Chad and Libya over control for the Aouzou Strip, a frontier zone which Libya had occupied since the beginning of the 1970s, but which remained a source of contention between the two countries. In early 1987, the regular Chadian forces, with military support from France and the United States, retook northern Chad from the Libyans. The war ended in 1988 and a peace agreement was signed in 1989(28).

At the end of 1986, another armed opposition group, le Mouvement pour le salut national du Tchad(MOSANAT), Movement for the National Salvation of Chad, emerged in the south-west of the country. During December 1988, fighting between MOSANAT and government forces intensified near to the Sudanese border. In revenge, some 200 people of the Hadjeraï ethnic group, seen as supportive of MOSANAT, were arrested. It appears that most of these people died in detention.

In March 1989, relations between Hissein Habré and some of his close military collaborators, including Idriss Déby, who was at the time a presidential adviser, became strained. Accused of trying to overthrow Hissein Habré, Idriss Déby fled with his supporters to Sudan where he organised a new coalition of armed opposition groups, the Mouvement patriotique du salut (MPS), Patriotic Movement for Salvation. After the alleged coup attempt, arrests were carried out in N'Djaména and in the west of the country. More than 200 people, mostly from the Zaghawa ethnic group and considered to be close to Idriss Déby, were arrested. Most of them are believed to have been extrajudicially executed or to have died as a result of starvation or illness in detention. In the face of such persecution, thousands of Zaghawa fled towards Sudan.

In November 1990 Idriss Déby's troops overthrew President Habré forcing him to flee. After initially seeking refuge in Cameroon, Hissein Habré arrived in Senegal, where President Abdou Diouf welcomed him for ''humanitarian reasons''. After Hissein Habré's departure, hundreds of prisoners who had been held in various parts of N'Djaména were freed.

Chad under Idriss Déby

As soon as he came to power, Idriss Déby, committed himself publicly to ending human rights violations, introducing a multi-party system of government and re-establishing democracy. For the first time in many years, political parties, trade unions and independent organizations were allowed to form. However, government promises to re-establish democracy, freedom of expression and association merely hid a different reality, characterised by the systematic repression of all independent activity.

Power struggles within the MPS very quickly erupted into insurgency, as factions, led by various warlords from different ethnic groups, defected to take up arms. From December 1991, an armed group, the Mouvement pour la démocratie et le développement(MDD), Movement for Democracy and Development, launched a number of armed attacks against government troops. In October 1991, deserters from the government army attacked N'Djaména airport and tried to overthrow the government. Some forty people were killed during this attempted coup and several government officials, includingMaldom Bada Abbas, were arrested.

After a second coup attempt in February 1992, Moïse Kette, an army officer and former DDS officer, resumed the armed struggle in the south of the country, forming an armed opposition group, the Comité de sursaut national pour la paix et la démocratie(CSNPD), Committee for the National Revitalization of Peace and Democracy, also responsible for serious human rights abuses. In August 1992, approximately 100 people were massacred at Doba by government forces, in reprisal for an earlier attack by the CSNPD.

The government of Idriss Déby continued to face sporadic armed opposition led by different groups in the south, west, north and east of the country despite the fact that important opposition leaders, including, Abbas Koty Yacoub, had rejoined the government. Abbas Koty Yacoub, President of the Conseil national de redressement (CNR), National Council for Recovery, returned to Chad in August 1993 after signing a peace agreement with the government(29). Two months later, he was extrajudicially executed by the security forces in front of a friend's house. The authorities stated that he had been killed as he resisted arrest on suspicion of plotting a coup.

Despite the signing of several peace agreements between government forces and some armed opposition groups, the troubles continued because the agreements were not recognised by other armed opposition groups, in particular, the Forces armées pour une république fédérale(FARF), Armed Forces for a Federal Republic, led by Laokein Bardé, formed from a breakaway faction of the CSNPD.

Between 1993 and 1995, at least 1,500 civilians were reportedly killed by the Armée nationale tchadienne (ANT), Chadian National Army, the government army, in revenge for attacks launched by armed opposition groups which also committed abuses against the civilian population, including the systematic rape of women and young girls, the deliberate and arbitrary killing of civilians as well as acts of pillage.

Presidential and legislative elections which had been promised since Idriss Déby came to power, finally took place in 1996 and 1997. President Déby beat his opponent General Kamougué. Represssion against those who challenged the electoral process continued. The Union des syndicats du Tchad (UST), Chad Trade Union Federation, was suspended for one month in July 1996 after it called for a boycott of the second round of voting because of alleged irregularities during the first round. Several human rights groups were also threatened with suspension by the Minister of the Interior because they had contested on the results of the first round. Several months later, the MPS, President Déby's party, won the legislative elections; these results were also contested.

The Déby government pursued its efforts to reach agreement with some of the armed opposition movements and in April 1997 a peace agreement was signed with the FARF which had been very active in the south of the country; an economically significant area because of a major oil exploration project. Laokein Bardé, coordinator of the FARF, died around April 1998. According to some sources, he died as a result of injuries sustained during an ambush of government troops. Other sources claimed that he was killed by FARF members following disagreements about the negotiations between the FARF and the government. The FARF rallied to support the central government in May 1998.

At the end of 1998, a new armed opposition group, the Mouvement pour la démocratie et la justice au Tchad(MDJT), Movement for Democracy and Justice, led by Youssouf Tougoïmi, former Minister of Defence and Minister of Justice in President Déby's government, emerged in the north of the country. Their early successes in the field earned them the support of some armed movements, including the MDD. In December 1999, a Coordination des mouvements armés et partis politiques de l'opposition(CMAP), Coordination of Armed Groups and Opposition Political Parties, a new coalition of 13 armed opposition groups, including FROLINAT, led by Antoine Bangui, a political opponent of Idriss Déby's, was formed.

Moïse Kette took up arms again in April 2000 after losing his post as head of the intelligence agency. The re-emergence of the CSNPD in the oil producing area provoked a large-scale military response in the south. People suspected of links with Moïse Kette's CSNPD, were ill-treated or extrajudicially executed. In June 2000, the World Bank agreed to finance a project for oil exploration and the Chad/Cameroon pipe-line. Human rights organizations in Chad and international environmental protection organizations publicly expressed their fears about the environmental, social and economic consequences of such a project.

Moïse Kette was killed in September 2000. Official sources stated he was reportedly killed during a clash with government soldiers. However, others confirmed that he was extrajudicially executed after his arrest. The CSNPD was responsible for several deadly ambushes and the abduction of people suspected of passing information on the CSNPD to the government. Its activities seem to have stopped following its leader's death.

In response to these new insurrections, Idriss Déby's government alternated between military and diplomatic initiatives. President Déby met Youssouf Tougoïmi for the first time in Libya in September 2000. However, no agreement was reached and fighting broke out again towards the end of the year. In May 2001, Idriss Déby was re-elected President after receiving more than 60% of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections. Opposition candidates stated that the election was tainted with irregularities and called for the results be annulled. Security forces again intervened to repress peaceful protest demonstrations.

Taking his oath of office in August 2001, Idriss Déby promised to leave his successors ''a Chad which had definitively rid itself of violence and which is resolutely on the road towards development''. Amnesty International hopes that this time, such promises will be respected.


Amnesty International reports on Chad

Chad: Political killings in Chad, June to December 1982(AI Index : 20/01/83, April 1983)

Chad: Detentions and arbitrary killings in the Republic of Chad, 1982/1983(AI Index: AFR 20/03/83, September 1983)

Chad: Political Imprisonment and Political Killings in Southern Chad: August - September 1984AI Index: AFR 20/05/84, October 1984)

Chad: Imprisonment of suspected opponents of the government in the Abéché region. Information provided by the authorities during an Amnesty International mission to the Republic of Chad (AI Index: AFR 20/01/85, April 1985)

ard Chad: "Disappearances", Extrajudicial Executions and Secret Detention(AI Index: AFR 20/08/87, September 1987)

Chad: Arrests of members of the Hadjeraï ethnic group(AI Index: AFR 20/05/88, March 1988)

Chad: Political Arrests in June and July 1988(AI Index: AFR 20/08/88, November 1988)

Chad: Human Rights Violations in 1988 and the first half of 1989(AI Index: AFR 20/11/89, September 1989)

Chad: Political Prisoners held in Secret: Calling the government to account(AI Index: AFR 20/01/90, February 1990)

Chad: Cases of Political Prisoners imprisoned in Secret(AI Index: AFR 20/07/90, June 1990)

Chad: Extrajudicial executions in Doba(AI Index: AFR 20/12/92, October 1992)

Chad: Appeal to Chad's National Conference and political leaders for Action to protect Human Rights(AI Index: AFR 20/01/93, 29 January 1993)

Chad: Never Again(Index AI : AFR 20/04/93, February 1993)

Chad: Amnesty International calls for a full inquiry into army killings in the south in 1993(AI Index: AFR 20/16/93, 21 April 1993)

Chad: Inquiry into army atrocities in early1993 in the Logone-Oriental prefecture(AI Index: AFR 20/20/93, May 1993)

Chad: Chadian National Conference adopts resolutions to prevent human rights violations(AI Index: AFR 20/23/93, June 1993)

Chad: Empty promises – human rights violations continue with impunity(AI Index: AFR 20/03/95, 27 April 1995)

Chad: A country under the arbitrary rule of the security forces with the tacit consent of other countries(AI Index: AFR 20/11/96, 10 October 1996)

Chad: Hope betrayed(AI Index: AFR 20/04/97, March 1997)


(1) See Senegal: Summary of Amnesty International concerns since 1991(AI Index: AFR 49/01/92, 7 October 1992).

(2) Amnesty International has been campaigning on human rights violations in Chad for more than 30 years. A list of Amnesty International publications is attached as an appendix.

(3) Hissein Habré was accepted in Senegal for "humanitarian reasons" after being toppled by the current president, Idriss Déby.

(4) The coalition is made up of theAssociation Tchadienne pour la Promotion et la Défense des Droits de l’Homme(ATPDH), Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights; la Ligue tchadienne des droits de l’homme(LTDH), Chadian Human Rights League;Rencontre Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO), African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (Senegal); l’Association des Victimes des Crimes et Répressions Politiques au Tchad(AVCRP), Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime, l’Organisation nationale des droits de l’homme (ONDH), National Organization for Human Rights (Senegal); Interights (UK); Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme(FIDH), International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (France); Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l’Homme, Act together for Human Rights (France); and Human Rights Watch, (US).

(5) Article 27:A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty. This rule is without prejudice to Article 46.

Article 46:A State may not invoke the fact that its consent to be bound by a treaty has been expressed in violation of a provision of its internal law regarding competence to conclude treaties a invalidating its consent unless that violation was manifest and concerned a rule of its internal law of fundamental importance.

(6) Senegal: Summary of Amnesty International concerns since January 1991(AI Index: AFR 49/01/92, 7 October 1992).

(7) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 20 April 2001, Ref: G/SO 229/31 Sene (1) 181/2001

(8) The men were allegedly arrested because they had been at the meeting of the forces of the Gouvernement d’union nationale de transition(GUNT) Transitional Government of National Union, a coalition led by Goukouni Oueddeï, to ask them not to bomb the town. They also reportedly signed a petition welcoming the GUNT forces. About 15 of the inhabitants of the town, who refused to sign the petition, together with 20 members of the government troops who had remained at Abéché, were reportedly killed by the GUNT forces after they entered the town. When government troops recaptured Abéché in July 1983, civilians suspected of having welcomed the GUNT forces or of having collaborated with them, were arrested, including numerous people who had signed the petition.

(9) Most of the information contained in this report has already been published by Amnesty International. A list of all major Amnesty International publications on Chad is attached as an appendix.

(10) Chad also acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in September 1990, just before Hissein Habré's departure.

(11) Among the opponents assassinated by the DDS abroad were: Tawati Ahmat, killed at Kousséri, in Cameroon in November 1987;El Hadj Adoum Yaro, killed at Maiduguri, in Nigeria in January 1988; Mohamat Issa, an associate of former president Goukouni Weddeye, killed on 31 December 1989 at the mosque in Gamboru, in Cameroon andMahamat Abdoulaye, also assassinated on 31 December in Gamboru.

(12) Information concerning the different departments of the DDS is contained in the Report of the Commssion of Inquiry on the crimes and abuses committed by ex-president Habré and his partners or accomplices.

(13) Diminutive of "commando". Used to describe combatants of armed opposition groups from the south.

(14) Report presented by Mr. S. Amos Wako, Special Rapporteur pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution nE 1987/60 (E/CN.4/1988/22, 19 January 1988).

(15) See Chad: Political Imprisonment and Political Killings in Southern Chad. August - September 1984 (AI Index: AFR 20/05/84, October 1984). In 1982, Idriss Déby himself had led the forces of Hissein Habré to victory, and he was the regular army's Chief of Staff around the middle of the decade. He was presidential advisor at the time of his flight to Sudan in 1989, where he organised a coalition of armed movements that would overthrow Hissein Habré in December 1990.

(16) Report E/CN.4/1986/21, 7 February 1986, presented by Mr. S. Amos Wako, Special Rapporteur.

(17) At the time, Idriss Déby was adviser to the President.

(18) Following the alleged attempted coup d’État, the government carried out waves of arrests in the capital and the north east of the country. More than 200 Zaghawa were detained, the majority of whom are said to have been extrajudicially executed or to have died of starvation or illness in detention. In the face of this repression, thousands of Zaghawa fled to Sudan, where many joined the MPS.

(19) Chad's Code of Criminal Procedure (CPP) determines the legal framework for arrests, for holding prisoners on remand, for hearings and for imprisonment. The CPP prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and states clearly that anyone being held must be informed of the reasons for his arrest. Article 221 limits the period of police detention to 48 hours. Article 246 authorises anyone with any knowledge of a case of illegal preventive detention to bring the matter before the public prosecutor, or the president of the court with authority to rule on preventive detention, to order the release of the accused, or an official announcement of his release pending trial.

(20) At the time, the armed forces were fighting an armed opposition movement led by Hissein Habré.

(21) For security reasons, Amnesty International has chosen to not to disclose "M"’s true name.

(22) Report presented by Mr. S. Amos Wako, Special Rapporteur, pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution nE 1988/38 (E/CN.4/1988/25, 6 February 1989) Summary or Arbitrary Executions.

(23) For more information on human rights violations committed under the presidency of Idriss Déby, see Chad: Extrajudicial executions in Doba(AFR 20/12/92, October 1992),Chad: Never again? Killings continue into the 1990s(AFR 20/04/93, February 1993), Chad: Amnesty International calls for a full inquiry into army killings in the south in 1993 (AFR 20/16/93, 21 April 1993),Chad: Inquiry into army atrocities in Logone-Oriental prefecture (AFR 20/20/93, May 1993), Chad: Empty promises: human rights violations continue with impunity(AFR 20/03/95, 27 April 1995), Chad: A country under the arbitrary rule of the security forces with the tacit consent of other countries(AFR 20/11/96, 10 October 1996) and Chad: Hope betrayed(AFR 20/04/97, March 1997).

(24) In 1995, Chad acceded to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

(25) On 27 May 2001, Idriss Déby was re-elected President of Chad with more than 67 per cent of the votes cast. Opposition candidates said that the election was marred by irregularities and called for the results to be declared null and void.

(26) 1987 presentation to Congress published by the US State Department.

(27) This document does not name all the armed opposition groups which have operated or which currently operate in Chad.

(28) In February 1994, the International Court of Justice in the Hague recognised Chadian sovereignty in this conflict, and in May 1994, Libyan forces withdrew from the zone.

(29) Abbas Koty Yacoub had supported Colonel Déby in his struggle against Hissein Habré and was subsequently named Chief of Army Staff of the Chadian national army. He fled the country in 1992 when he was accused of an attempted coup. One of his close supporters, Adoum Acyl, was extrajudicially executed on the eve of Abbas Koty Yacoub’s death.

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