20th July, 2015, Dakar, Senegal: The trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré, accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, began before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal. The alleged crimes were committed during Habré’s regime from 1982 to 1990, when an estimated 40,000 people are reported to have died or disappeared.
SRT grantee, TrustAfrica have enhanced independent coverage of the Habré trial through their International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Fund who worked closely with a consortium of civil society organizations and Senegalese law graduates. The ICJ Fund trained a group of law graduates from the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar, to monitor, document and provide daily reports on the proceedings in both French and English across various platforms. The work of these students provides an invaluable resource to ensure there is an independent platform of informed actors who can provide accurate and timely analysis of the proceedings, and share this information in Africa and beyond.
The trial ended on February 11th 2016, after testimony from 93 witnesses, and on May 30, 2016, judges at the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegal court system will deliver their verdict. This is the first time a former African Head of State is facing justice in another African country. It is also one of the first occasions that an African court is operating under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The New York Times has called the case “a milestone for justice in Africa.”
This article was originally published at SIGRID RAUSING TRUST website.