Former Chad leader Hissene Habre has appeared in court in the Senagalese capital Dakar. The 70-year-old has been charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of torture.
The appearance follows years of campaigning to bring Habre to court. He has been under house arrest in Senegal since 2005 to where he fled after being deposed in 1990.
Last year the UN’s International Court of Justice ordered Senegal to put Habre on trial or extradite him to face justice. His lawyer said he would fight the charges and prove the former president’s innocence.
Habre came to power in the oil rich central African state of Chad in 1982 and ruled until he was ousted in 1990 when the crimes allegedly took place. Human rights groups hold him responsible for the torture or killing of up to 40,000 people.
The trial in Senegal will set an historic precedent as until now African leaders accused of atrocities have only been tried in international courts.