The former President of Chad, Hissene Habre, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison today for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Mr. Habre was the dictator of Chad from 1982 until he was overthrown in a coup in 1990.
According to Reuters, the Special African Chamber (CAE) in 2013 created a tribunal in Senegal to try Mr. Habre for his crimes. Mr. Habre was defiant throughout his proceedings and refused to recognize the legitimacy or jurisdiction of the CAE.
The Reuters report added that, “the tribunal is supported by the African Union but is part of Senegal's justice system, making it the first time in modern history that one country's domestic courts have prosecuted the former leader of another country on rights charges. Other such cases have been tried by international tribunals.”
Mr. Habre was found guilty of ordering the mass torture and murder of ethnic and political opponents during his reign. The 1992 Chadian Truth Commission accused his government of murdering up to 40,000 people.
Amnesty International stated that “today’s judgment convicting former Chadian president Hissène Habré marks a significant moment for international justice and a huge relief for the tens of thousands of victims who have waited for this day for over 25 years.”