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Former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, who is accused of tens of thousands of political killings and torture, will finally stand trial this month.
Former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré finally goes on trial on July 20 2015, almost 25 years after being toppled in a coup. Habré is accused of tens of thousands of political killings and torture during his rule from 1982 to 1990.
Human Rights Watch has been working on the case for 16 years, gathering stories from survivors and the families of victims. A key step in building the case was the discovery of files kept by Habré's political police (the DDS), which document the atrocities committed against prisoners. Some of the survivors have been working towards bringing the dictator to court since 1990.
Habré is charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture and will appear before a specially commissioned court – the Extraordinary African Chambers – in Senegal. Habré has been living in exile since 1990.
The UN's International Court of Justice in 2012 ordered Senegal to put him on trial or extradite him to face justice overseas.
Reed Brody, counsel at Human Rights Watchwho has worked with the survivors since 1999, says, “This case is a wake-up call to tyrants that if they engage in atrocities they will never be out of the reach of their victims.”
The Extraordinary African Chambers was inaugurated by Senegal and the African Union in February 2013 to prosecute the “person or persons” for international crimes committed in Chad between 1982 and 1990. The trial will be the first to date in which the court of one country prosecutes the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes.
Habré has denied the killings and torture.
Read more - Habré trial a triumph for justice