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African Union; Chad; Senegal: Former Chad Dictator Hissene Habre’s Trial Adjourned to September

(July 28, 2015) On July 21, 2015, the trial of the former President of Chad, Hissène Habré, before the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar, Senegal, was adjourned to September 7, 2015. (Diadie Ba, Trial of Chad’s Habre Suspended After Boycott by His Lawyers, REUTERS (July 21, 2015).) Habré had to be forced to appear before the EAC, where none of his lawyers presented themselves. The President of the Trial Chamber, Burkinabe Gustave Kam Gberdao, was therefore compelled to appoint three new Senegalese lawyers to represent Habré. The new lawyers were given 45 days to prepare and acquaint themselves with the case. (Id.) The trial had just opened in Dakar on the previous day, July 20, 2015. (Geneviève Claveau, African Union; Chad; Senegal: Former Chad Dictator Hissene Habré’s Trial Opens in Dakar, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (July 21, 2015).)

Habré has refused to recognize the legitimacy and the legality of the court. (Ba, supra.) The special court was given jurisdiction to preside over Habré’s case through an agreement signed between the African Union and Senegal in August 2012. (Claveau, supra; Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Senegal and the African Union on the Establishment of Extraordinary African Chambers Within the Senegalese Judicial System, LC11888 (Aug. 22, 2012), African Union website.)

Habré is facing accusations of crimes against humanity, torture, and war crimes. He denies being responsible for the thousands of deaths and the systematic torture that allegedly occurred during his rule in Chad from 1982 to 1990. (Claveau, supra; Cas Habré (June 12, 2013), EAC website.)

Prepared by Geneviève Claveau, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Nicolas Boring, Foreign Law Specialist.