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Habre - "I hope this is a lesson to all the other dictators out there"

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Habre - "I hope this is a lesson to all the other dictators out there"

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  • Convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity
  • Handed a life sentence
  • Victims celebrate

There has been a jubilant reaction to news that the former president of Chad, Hissene Habre, has been convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Many in court, including some of his victims, cheered in celebration.

Some had testified during the hearing:

What they are saying

“Hissene Habre never imagined that one day he would be in court. We fought and now our sacrifices have paid off,” – Clement Abaifouta, President of the Chadian Association of the Victims of Crime and Political Repression (AVCRP)

“Getting a guilty verdict is all I care about, compensation will come later,” – Fatime Thiangdoum, victim.

“We are disappointed because with everything that was achieved during the trial and the way we proved president Habre’s innocence, faced with false accusations, we were expected an acquittal,” – lawyer Ibrahim Diawara.

“This sends a very strong message to all those in Africa who are in power and who want to be. It is no longer possible to commit massive human rights violations and sleep easily in your bed,” – Assane Dioma Ndiaye.

What happened in court?

The former president of Chad, Hissene Habre, was been convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The verdict ended a 16-year battle by victims and rights campaigners to bring the former strongman to justice in Senegal.

He fled there after being toppled in a 1990 coup in Chad.

What were the charges?

That the 73-year-old ordered the torture and killing of thousands of political opponents during his eight-year tenure.

He has been sentenced to life in prison by the Special African Chamber (CAE). The tribunal was created in 2013 by Senegal and the African Union.

Habre was also found guilty of rape.

How did Habre react to the verdict and sentence?

He was defiant.

After the conviction and sentence were read out in court, he raised his arms and called out to his supporters as he was led away.

Many in court, including some of his victims, cheered in celebration.

Many of Habre’s victims testified during the hearing, recounting at length and in detail the acts of torture to which they were submitted.

What they are also saying

“Hissene Habre, the court condemns you to life in prison. You have a period of 15 days from the pronouncement of this judgement to appeal the decision in accordance with the criminal procedure code,” – presiding Judge Gustave Kam.

“Honestly, I am very satisfied. I do not have the words, but let the name of God alone be glorified. It hurts me that many of my colleagues died along the way. They could not be here to see these results, which is why I was moved and brought to tears. It is truly a happy moment. Hissen Habre will end his life in prison and that is all we wanted. I hope this serves as a lesson to all the other dictators out there,” – Souleymane Guenguen, torture survivor and founder of the Chadian Victims’ Association (AVCRP)

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