Ex-Chad Dictator’s Victims Denied Reparations



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(Nairobi) РThe victims of the former dictator of Chad, Hiss̬ne Habr̩, did not receive a cent of the reparations ordered by the Extraordinary African Chambers supported by the African Union in Senegal in 2016, five organizations said today , including Human Rights Watch. Here is their statement:

Chad, the African Union and the international community must not now abandon the victims of Hissène Habré

Paris, London, Ndjamena, New York, May 30, 2021

Five years after the historic judgment in Senegal against former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, victims of his brutal regime have not seen one hundred of the $ 150 million in court-ordered reparations. A coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) today called on Chad, the African Union and the international community not to abandon the victims and to ensure that they receive the justice and reparations to which they are entitled. and what they need.

On May 30, 2016, the African Extraordinary Chambers (ACE) supported by the African Union, supported by the African Union and the international community, condemned Habré in the first case of universal jurisdiction to continue his trial in Africa.

Habré was the first former head of state to be tried and convicted of human rights crimes in national courts in another state. He was convicted of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, including sexual slavery, and sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, the conviction was upheld in 2017 and together, 7,396 victims obtained reparations for the crimes they suffered during Habré’s 8-year reign.

An African Union trust fund that has been mandated by Chambers to trace, freeze and seize Habré’s assets in order to administer reparations has not yet become operational. The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in February 2020, promised “in the near future, to convene a resource mobilization conference to maintain this fund”.

National efforts have also stalled: the Chadian government and Habré-era security agents have yet to pay $ 139 million in reparations ordered by a Chadian court in 2015 when it convicted 20 agents. Habré-era security officer for murder and torture. In August 2017, a United Nations team of experts expressed concern over the government’s inability to make reparations.

Habré, accused of having looted tens of millions of dollars from the Chadian treasury, has himself paid no damages.

Recent unrest in Chad threatens to deliver justice for survivors in the form of reparations that are even more difficult to obtain in the future. Since the death of President Idriss Déby Itno on April 20, 2021, who ended Habré’s power in 1990 and had been in power since, the political context in Chad has been fragile.

In addition, Habré’s lawyers have repeatedly called for his release from prison. In December 2019, as Habré’s supporters demanded his release, the United Nations Committee against Torture wrote to Senegal warning that “the premature release of the perpetrators of the most serious international crimes would not be in accordance with [Senegal’s] obligations “under the United Nations Convention against Torture to punish acts of torture and other ill-treatment with sanctions which take into account their seriousness”.

In April 2020, Habré was released for 60 days due to health risks from Covid-19. On July 8, 2020, four UN human rights experts expressed “grave concern” in Senegal about the April 2020 release and said it was “essential” for Habré to remain in detention, in view of the serious crimes for which he was convicted. In April 2021, a Senegalese court rejected Habré’s release request for 6 months. Enforcement of the full criminal sentence is an essential element of victims’ rights to justice and accountability.

Jacqueline Moudeina, the main lawyer for the victims of the Habré regime who represents more than 4,000 victims in this case, said: “Time is running out. We cannot wait years and years for these repairs. More than 100 victims have died since the EAC decision and will never see reparations. The Chadian government and the African Union must act now by making it imperative to include victim compensation in their priority programs.

The importance of reparations for Habré’s victims cannot be underestimated. Reparations, including compensation, restitution, satisfaction, rehabilitation and guarantees of non-repetition are essential to redress the trauma and damage caused to survivors of the Habré regime.

“I believe the time has come to give the survivors, who have lived through unimaginable horrors and who have shown incredible courage in their fight for justice, the opportunity to rebuild their lives, even if not not without difficulty, ”said Clément Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of Crimes of the Hissène Habré Regime (AVCRHH), forced to dig graves for many of his fellow prisoners while he was himself a prisoner under the regime of Hissène Habré. Habré.

The undersigned organizations and individuals:

  • Call on the Chadian government to execute the decision of the Special Criminal Court of N’Djamena of March 25, 2015;
  • Call on the Senegalese government not to release Hissène Habré prematurely;
  • Call on the African Union to make the Trust Fund operational, to trace Habré’s holdings and to make efforts to obtain voluntary donations from donors;
  • Call on the international community to contribute financially to the Trust Fund.

Signatories:
The Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (ATPDH)
The Association of Victims of Crimes of Hissène Habré (AVCRHH)
The African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO)
STRAIGHTEN
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Civil party lawyers Alain Werner, Jacqueline Moudeïna and Emmanuelle Marchand
Jeanne Sulzer, lawyer at the Paris bar

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