Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

20 July 2012

ICJ: Ex-Chad leader Habré’s victims’ long wait for justice

ICJ: Ex-Chad leader Habré’s victims’ long wait for justice
The ICJ ruling found that Senegal must prosecute Hissène Habré immediately.

The ICJ ruling found that Senegal must prosecute Hissène Habré immediately.

© STR/AFP/Getty Images


This is a victory for victims that’s long overdue, and now it’s high time the courts in Senegal delivered justice. They must immediately comply with this ruling.
Source: 
Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Programme Director
Date: 
Fri, 20/07/2012

Senegal must abide by today’s decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and prosecute the former president of Chad Hissène Habré on charges relating to large-scale human rights abuses during his time in power, Amnesty International said.

“This is a victory for victims that’s long overdue, and now it’s high time the courts in Senegal delivered justice. They must immediately comply with this ruling,” said Michael Bochenek, Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Programme Director.

“The latest judgment of the International Court of Justice brings hope to the many who have been waiting more than a decade for Senegal to take action.”

Habré was overthrown on 1 December 1990 after a brutal rule that spanned more than eight years from June 1982.

He has been living in Dakar since being granted political asylum by Senegal soon after his ouster.

On 3 February 2000, the Dakar Regional Court indicted the former Chadian leader for "crimes against humanity, acts of torture and barbarity," but a Court of Appeal later ruled that they did not have jurisdiction to try acts of torture committed by a foreigner outside of its territory.

Today’s judgement by the ICJ by a majority of 14 to 2 found that Senegal must “without further delay, submit the case of Mr Hissène Habré to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution, if it does not extradite him”.

An extradition request from Belgium has been pending since 2005.

However, the ICJ failed to rule on other aspects of the case including whether the obligation to extradite or prosecute existed under customary international law.

In its judgment, it also failed to consider the matter of universal jurisdiction for crimes against humanity, missing out on a unique opportunity to further develop international law in relation to these most serious of crimes.

Country

Chad 
Senegal 

Region

Africa 

Issue

Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes 
International Justice 
Torture And Ill-treatment 
Trials And Legal Systems 

Campaigns

International Justice 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

29 July 2014

Burundi’s ruling party is perpetrating a relentless campaign of intimidation against government critics and its youth wing is carrying out crimes with impunity ahead of next... Read more »

24 July 2014

The prolonged execution of a prisoner in Arizona yesterday represents another wake-up call for authorities in the USA to abolish the death penalty, said Amnesty International... Read more »

22 July 2014

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

Read more »
29 July 2014

The European Union (EU) must urgently strengthen its laws to enable member states to immediately ban the trade in new devices and technologies that have no practical  use... Read more »

25 July 2014

Amnesty International's experts respond to some of the questions raised around the Israel/Gaza conflict.

Read more »