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|“||Down with the imperialists. The trial is a farce of Senegalese political parties. African traitors. Valet of America.||„|
|~ Hissène Habré|
Hissène Habré (born 13 September 1942), is a former Chadian dictator ruling from 1982 to his deposal by Idriss Déby in 1990. His one party regime was characterized by widespread human rights abuses and atrocities. He denies killing and torturing tens of thousands of his opponents although in 2012, the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Senegal to put him on trial or extradite him to face justice overseas. He is the first former head of state to be convicted for human rights abuses in the court of another nation.
Habré was born in 1942 in Faya-Largeau, northern Chad, then a colony of France, into a family of shepherds. He is a member of the Anakaza branch of the Daza Gourane ethnic group, which is itself a branch of the Toubou ethnic group. After primary schooling, he obtained a post in the French colonial administration, where he impressed his superiors and gained a scholarship to study in France at the Institute of Overseas Higher Studies in Paris. He completed a university degree in political science in Paris, and returned to Chad in 1971. He also obtained several other degrees and earned his Doctorate from the Institute.
After a further brief period of government service as a deputy prefect, he visited Tripoli and joined the National Liberation Front of Chad (FROLINAT) where he became a commander in the Second Liberation Army of FROLINAT along with Goukouni Oueddei. After Abba Siddick assumed the leadership of FROLINAT, the Second Liberation Army, first under Oueddei's command and then under Habré's, split from FROLINAT and became the Command Council of the Armed Forces of the North (CCFAN). In 1976 Oueddei and Habré quarreled and Habré split his newly named Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armées du Nord or FAN) from Goukouni's followers who adopted the name of People's Armed Forces (Forces Armées Populaires or FAP). Both FAP and FAN operated in the extreme north of Chad, drawing their fighters from the Toubou nomadic people.
Habré first came to international attention when a group under his command attacked the town of Bardaï in Tibesti, on 21 April 1974, and took three Europeans hostage, with the intention of ransoming them for money and arms. The captives were a German physician, Dr. Christoph Staewen (whose wife Elfriede was killed in the attack), and two French citizens, Françoise Claustre, an archeologist, and Marc Combe, a development worker. Staewen was released on 11 June 1974 after significant payments by West German officials. Combe escaped in 1975, but despite the intervention of the French Government, Claustre (whose husband was a senior French government official) was not released until 1 February 1977. Habré split with Oueddei, partly over this hostage-taking incident (which became known as the "Claustre affair" in France).
Following his rise to power, Habré created a secret police force known as the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS), under which opponents of Habré were tortured and executed.Some methods of torture commonly used by the DDS included; burning with incandescent objects, spraying of gas into the eyes, ears, and nose; forced swallowing of water, and forcing the mouths of detainees around the exhaust pipes of running cars. Habré's government periodically engaged in ethnic cleansing against groups such as the Sara, Hadjerai and the Zaghawa, killing and arresting group members in masses when it perceived that their leaders posed a threat to the regime. This gave him the nickname "Africa's Pinochet".
It is also known that he will have developed a personal hatred against Muammar Gaddafi based on his regime's ambitions to conquer Chad, this is notorious when he personally tortured a Chadian citizen suspected of being Libyan for his light skin color.
The lawsuits against him are initiated in Belgium in application of the law of universal jurisdiction, which, although repealed in 2003, applies in this specific case (certain complainants have acquired Belgian nationality). Belgian justice issues an international arrest warrant, accompanied by a request for immediate arrest, 19 September 2005 and forwarded to the Senegalese authorities. After her arrest on November 15 and police custody for a few days, Hissène Habré was released, the Senegalese justice system was finally declared incompetent and the case reached the level of the African Union.
In July 2006, Senegal was mandated by the African Union to try Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of torture. Senegal embarked on a series of legislative reforms and adopted a constitutional amendment to try the former Chadian dictator. The Senegalese authorities have suspended their legal actions, however, the support of the international community in general and the African Union in particular 8 of the total funds required for the trial, estimated at 27.4 million euros.
During the first days of the trial, Hissène Habré refused to cooperate and every day was forcibly brought to the Palace of Justice. The victims did not lose hope of speaking. “We have come to Dakar to look the dictator in the eyes,” said the victims, “who has the honor of hearing our testimonies, the courage to face their judges, to respond to the accusations. We want to ask him why we were jailed and tortured, why our relatives were killed. ”
On April 7, 2020, he was released for a period of 60 days from prison to remain under house arrest for cases related to the coronavirus pandemic and Habré's advanced age.There was enormous dissatisfaction with the release of said war criminal, the president of Senegal Macky Sall himself reassured the victims alleging that his position has no power to pardon Habre, since he was listed as an international convict. On June 7, his term expired and he returned to his cell.
Several notable survivors
- Fatime Tchangdoum:On August 1, 1983, they arrested her husband, whom they accused of belonging to the rebellion. Fifteen days later, she was found dead. "I went crazy, my youngest son was one month old and the other four and two."
- Ginette Nganbaye:In 1985, she was a young typing student in N'Djamena. They stopped her. "One of the gendarmes with the bloody shirt started to touch me, I told him I was expecting a baby, but he continued."
- Ousmane Abakar Taher:Ousmane was arrested on July 30, 1983 in Faya-Largeau. Belonging to the rebellion against Habré, his fate was cast. After being transferred to the capital, he entered prison.
- Abakar Gambala:His father was arrested in 1987 and Abakar was a 12-year-old boy. "For years I have felt hatred and that tortures me. I cannot understand how 40,000 people can be killed just for staying in power."
- Jonah Siptene Ganbang:On August 1, 1983, Jonas was beaten to death. As a result of the blows, he became half deaf and suffers from severe back pain. For more than a year they forced him to do forced labor ”.
- Alkali mahamat:Alkali Mahamat made the mistake of thinking that the regime could be benevolent. After serving in the rebellion and living in Libya, after signing a peace agreement, he decided to return. He was wrong.
- Rahama Ajinguembaye:Her brother had joined the maquis, which led to her being arrested on March 9, 1983, when she was two months pregnant. They tied her up and beat her. "Then they threw me into a room full of blood."
- Gnamassoun Kôh-Nar:Primary teacher, he had the audacity to confront the local authorities over a conflict between farmers and ranchers in Kiabé. He spent four months in a "black as night" prison.
- Clement Abeifouta:“At that time there were ears everywhere. A cousin of mine commented in a bar that they had given me a scholarship to study in Germany and they came after me ”. On July 10, 1985, he was arrested in N'Djamena.
- Ousmane Mahamat Saleh:In 1989 they accused him of recruiting people to join the rebellion. “The jail was full of relatives and friends. They beat me with cables, forced me to drink a lot of water and then walked on my belly ”.
- Jean Noyoma Kovounsouna:“When your arms and legs are tied behind your back, the arbatachar technique, your chest swells and you look like a ship, everything hurts. I was vomiting non-stop and I ended up passed out. "
- Fatimé Mando:In 1983, Fatimé Mando, 32, was accused of being the mistress of the rebel general Kamougué. “They hit me so hard that I was bleeding from my nose, from my ears. Today I still come across my torturers. "
- Bichara Djibrine Ahmat:One day, Bichara returned from the dead. A rebel officer, he was taken prisoner in 1983. One night he was taken to a field where he was shot. “God wanted to save me. The bullet hit me in the thigh and I fell. "
- Husseini Robert Gambier:His fair skin was about to cost him his life. Arrested for “being a Libyan”, he was transferred to a secret prison in N'Djamena where he was savagely tortured,I declare that he was personally tortured by Habré asking him if he knew Muammar Gaddafi and his green book .
- Hawa Brahim Faradj:On June 4, 1985, the police went to Hawa's house to look for his mother, but when they couldn't find him, they took him away. She was only 14 years old and ended up spending four years in jail.
- Bassou Zenouba Ngolo:Her husband, a journalist, was arrested and jailed. She died in prison. She is today a municipal councilor in the City Council of N'Djamena. "It was time for justice to be done."