Donors to meet in Senegal to raise funds for Habré trial.
International donors meeting in Dakar next week are expected to pledge millions of dollars to fund the prosecution of ex-Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, human rights bodies said Tuesday.
Ten years after Habré was indicted in Senegal for mass murder and torture, his case has yet to come to trial, and it is hoped the November 24 meeting will end a logjam and see Senegal institute pre-trial proceedings.
A press statement from international human rights organisations said the meeting would be "a turning point in the long campaign to bring the former Chadian dictator to justice".
"After so many years of tenacity and disappointments, Hissène Habré's victims can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Reed Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, who works with the victims.
The case would set a historical precedent for Africa which is loathe for its own leaders to be tried in international courts.
"The meeting is expected to result in pledges to match the 11.7 million US dollar (8.59 million euro) budget presented by the African Union and the European Union," said the statement.
The one-time warlord rose to power in 1982 backed by the United States and France who wanted to stop their bete noir Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi from annexing northern Chad and spreading his influence in the region.
Habré, dubbed 'Africa's Pinochet' by Brody, fled to Senegal after being toppled in 1990 after a reign in which a 1992 truth commission report says he oversaw up to 40,000 political murders and often horrific tortures.
After first being charged in January 2000, Habré's case was later thrown out as Senegal said it did not have universal jurisdiction.
But, after the African Union mandated Senegal to put him on trial the country in 2008 changed its penal code to include crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
Senegal's insistence on full up-front international funding of 27 million euros has held the case up for years, said the statement.
[Source: Agence France-Presse, Dakar, 16Nov10]
DDHH e Impunidad
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