- The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has rejected the Belgian plea requesting the court to issue an order forcing Senegal to keep the former Chadian leader Hissene Habre under house arrest to prevent him from fleeing justice.
Mr Habre who is accused of widespread abuses including killing thousands of political opponents during his eight-year reign in Chad has lived in exile in Senegal's capital of Dakar since the rebels toppled his regime in 1990.
The ICJ's Judge Hisashi Owada ruled that an order to Senegalese government was irrelevant since the Dakar government had given a formal assurance that it will keep Mr Habre in custody.
The Belgian government had put pressure on the international court in April this year requesting the court to compel Senegal to keep Mr Habre until the courts have ruled on his case.
The Belgium lawyers had informed the ICJ that Mr Habre might go into hiding if Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade lifts his house arrest. Mr Wade has warned he might do so if funding is not found for a trial in Senegal.
Belgium, which issued an international warrant for Mr Habre's arrest in 2005 has filed a case against Senegal in the ICJ in February to compel it to prosecute the ex-president or to extradite him for trial on charges of torture and crimes against humanity.
The Senegalese government had said the trial for the former dictator would only take place when sufficient financing is available. It expects the trial to cost around US $38 million.
Belgium has been pushing for years for him to be prosecuted in Senegal or sent to Brussels for trial in a case brought by Belgian nationals of Chadian descent.
The former Chadian ruler was first indicted in Senegal in 2000 but its courts ruled he could not be tried there. Senegal then rebuffed a Belgian extradition request for Mr Habré in 2005.
Mr Habré's and his 11 associate leaders of the eastern rebel group were sentenced to death in absentia in Chad.
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