Since 1999, Human Rights Watch has been working with the victims of Chad's exiled former president, Hissène Habré, to bring him to justice.

Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture when he ruled Chad, from 1982 to 1990. He has been living since then in exile in Senegal, where he was indicted in 2000. Habré is also wanted by Belgium on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture.

After years of stalling by Senegal, the new government of President Macky Sall finally opened a path to justice for Habré’s victims.

On August 22, 2012, Senegal and the African Union (AU) signed an agreement to establish a special court in the Senegalese justice system with African judges appointed by the AU presiding over his trial and any appeals. 

The agreement came on the heels of a landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice on July 20, 2012 ordering Senegal to bring Habré to justice “without further delay” either by prosecuting him domestically or extraditing him for trial.

On February 8, 2013 the Extraordinary African Chambers were inaugurated in Dakar. 

On July 2, 2013 Hissène Habré is charged with crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes by the Extraordinary African Chambers and placed in pre-trial detention. 

Timeline of events in the Habré case



Statute of the Extraordinary African Chambers- August 22, 2012

ICJ: Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal)– July 20, 2012

ECOWAS: Hissein Habré v. Sénégal– November 18, 2010

Decision on the Hissène Habré Case and the African Union (Doc. Assembly/AU/3 (VII)) – August 2, 2006

Decision of the U.N. Committee against Torture– May 19, 2006 




The Habré Trial: 23 Years On, Justice Comes to Chad, Think Africa Press, December 12, 2013

The Trial of Hissène Habré: A Turning Point for Justice in Africa? Think Africa Press, February 8, 2013

Former Chadian Leader to Face Trial in SenegalVoice of America, August 23, 2012

Justice in SenegalThe Huffington Post, July 31, 2012

Senegal Told to Prosecute Ex-President of ChadNew York Times, July 20, 2012 



Chad country page map