Today, the Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, declared during an interview with a Swiss daily, Le Temps, that

"I was ready to send Hissène Habré anywhere, including his own country, Chad, but Kofi Annan intervened to have me keep Hissène Habré on my territory long enough to have a judiciary seek his presence. I have done this, but I do not want this situation to go on. Senegal does not have the competence nor the means to judge him. Chad does not want to judge him. If a country, capable of organizing a fair trial - there is talk of Belgium - wants him, I do not foresee any obstacle. But they must act fast. I am not anxious to keep Hissène Habré in Senegal."

Human Rights Watch welcomes the position taken by the President of Senegal. The President's statements indicate that Senegal intends to respect the request made by the United Nations Committee against Torture several months ago, and reiterated recently by high UN officials. His statements also indicate that Senegal is willing to prevent Hissène Habré from fleeing to a country where he would be out of justice's reach. President Wade's stance gives new hope to the victims' goal of bringing Hissène Habré to justice.