- For so many years, the victims of the former Chadian leader’s brutality have been searching for justice without success. But there are writings on the walls that they are few miles away from getting what they have been longing for: the trial of Hissène Habré to kick off, as the new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has offered to throw his country’s support for the process.
President Sarkozy made the disclosure in Senegal during a two-day working there. He expressed the Paris government’s readiness to assist Senegal to ensure a fair trial for Habré who has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and atrocities during his eight-year tenure in office.
Since he was dislodged from power in a military coup, the former Chadian leader has been exiled in Senegal. He was accused of ruling Chad with iron fist between 1982 and 1990.
The French leader told a news conference in the capital Dakar that Senegal alone cannot bankroll Habré‘s case. He hailed the Senegalese democracy, which according to him, was the main reason why the country has been chosen to preside over the case.
Mr Sarkozy assured Senegalese authorities of his country’s contribution to the trial.
President Abdoulaye Wade said though the case is an African issue, but the burden lies on the international community to finance it.
“We have agreed to judge Hissène Habré because Africa trusts us, our legal system, and our magistrates”, Mr Wade said, pointing out a slow pace on the side of the African Union.
He said he had told the French President about the proposition to set up a commission to monitor and handle all the legal issues, but its complicated nature calls for funds and perhaps legal assistance from France.
President Wade said what is even more complicated is that the case involved investigations in Chad and Belgium and that thousands of witnesses will have to travel to give evidence.
Against this background, the Senegalese leader said he will soon assign the Justice Minister, Cheikh Tidiane Sy, to France to examine the modalities of the country’s assistance.
Right activists have been criticising the delay of the case.
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