Senegal reaffirms it's willing to try Chadian ex-dictator
7/20/2012 7:10:14 PM -
DAKAR (AFP) - Senegal said Friday it was willing to try Chadian ex-dictator Hissene Habre for crimes against humanity after the International Court of Justice ruled he must be tried there or extradited.
"Senegal notes the ruling by the ICJ, and reaffirms its firm will to organise Hissene Habre's trial in Dakar," where he has lived in exile for more than two decades, the government said in a statement sent to AFP.
Senegal's pledge came the same day as the ruling from The Hague-based ICJ, which said Senegal must without further delay put the 1980s dictator on trial or else extradite him to Belgium.
Though Dakar had pledged in 2006 to try Habre, it never organised a trial.
Soon after Friday's ICJ ruling, Senegal began talks with the African Union then quickly reaffirmed its commitment to trying him.
Habre has lived in exile in Senegalese capital Dakar since he was deposed in 1990 by current Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, a former associate who rebelled against him.
Leslie Haskell, a lawyer for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said a special tribunal could be created as soon as next week. She welcomed the ICJ ruling as a "great victory" for victims.
Friday's developments follow years of legal wrangling by Belgium, which has sought Habre since 2005, after a Belgian of Chadian origin filed a complaint against him under a Belgian law.
Brussels turned to the ICJ after filing several unsuccessful extradition requests to bring Habre to Belgium.