PARIS (AFP) - Senegal's President Macky Sall said that Chad's ex-president Hissene Habre, accused of mass murder, will not be extradited to Belgium but tried in Senegal, in an interview published Monday.
Early in June, Senegal set up a working group into Habre's case, in line with its commitment made in 2006 to organise the trial of Chad's former leader who took refuge on Senegalese soil.
"This committee is precisely responsible for shedding light on this affair and examining the constraints we face, knowing that I totally exclude his extradition to Belgium, which wants him," Sall told the Jeune Afrique news magazine.
"There's no valid reason not to try him in Africa and I recall, furthermore, that it was the African Union that gave Senegal a mandate to organise this trial. Habre will be tried here," he added.
Habre has been living in exile in Dakar since he was toppled in 1990 after eight years in power. He is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. Though Senegal in 2006 accepted the AU mandate, it has not yet brought Habre to trial.
Belgium in September 2005 issued an international arrest warrant against Habre for "serious violations of international humanitarian law" and has since made four extradition requests, all in vain.
Brussels in 2009 went to the International Court of Justice to request that it order Senegal to try Habre or to extradite him.
These procedures are based on a suit filed in 2000 by a Belgian of Chadian origin under a Belgian law that provides for "universal competence" regarding crimes that violate international law and authorises the courts to take cases up where citizens of Belgian nationality are involved.
According to a Chadian commission of inquiry, Habre's regime killed more than 40,000 people among his political opponents and among certain ethnic groups.