Senegal: Habré can be tried in regular courts, says legal expert
Amidst controversy over the fate of former Chadian President Hissen Habre, a top African law professor Dr. Ibrahima Kane says Senegal can try the former Chadian leader in the country’s regular courts.
Some human rights groups and others have been insisting that a special court be set up to try Habre for allegedly committing torture and other atrocities during his rule over ten year ago.
But in an interview with WADR, Dr Kane, Advocacy Director at the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) said there was no need for a special court or tribunal to try Habré.
“Since Habré was indicted on the basis of the convention against torture, which has been ratified by Senegal, he (Habré) can be tried in any local court,” Dr Kane told WADR.
The African legal expert therefore said even if his indictment is related to an act he committed as a head of state, “we have to understand that a head of state is first of all a human being and in a country where you have rule of law, anybody can be tried by the local tribunal.”
“Special tribunal tribunals are organized for most serious crimes such as war crime, crime against humanity and genocide,” Kane added.
The Senegalese born African law professor said he believed that Senegal was not willing to do anything to try Habré at this time.
He said there was no need also to send Habré to Belgium as such a move would deprive alleged victims, Chadians, and other Africans the opportunity to fully follow the trial and understand the law against impunity.
“When you organize this kind of trial you always also educate people about laws, about justice, about fight against impunity,” he stressed.
“If Hissene Habré is tried in Senegal, we’ll show that nobody is above the law,” the top Senegalese born law professor added.
Click below to hear Dr Ibrahima Kane’s interview with WADR's Kara Thioune.