(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Case against Hissene Habre dismissed

Human rights groups have vowed to appeal against the dismissal on Tuesday of torture charges against former Chadian President Hissene Habre, who lives in exile in Dakar, PANA reported.

The three-judge Indicting Chamber ruled that Senegal had no jurisdiction to pursue charges that Habre tortured hundreds of people during his 1982-1990 rule because the crimes were not committed in Senegal.

However, rights organisations said Senegal was obliged, under the 1984 United Nations Convention against Torture which Dakar ratified in 1986, to prosecute alleged torturers who enter its territory.

“This is the most important human rights case in Senegal’s history and we are behaving like a banana republic,” PANA quoted Alioune Tine of the Dakar-based African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO) as saying.

Tine said the lawyers who represented torture victims and human rights groups in the case would appeal to the Supreme Court. “We will wage a wide campaign within and outside the country to ensure that justice is done,” he said.

The case was dismissed a day after it was announced that the Superior Council of the Magistracy (Conseil supérieur de la magistrature), had removed Judge Demba Kandji, who indicted Habre in February, from his post as investigating judge.

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