Options for Hissène Habré to Face Justice

Submission to the Committee of Eminent African Jurists

This paper examines Senegal’s legal obligations as well as the different options for bringing Mr. Habré to justice. It notes that—whatever the outcome of the A.U. review—Senegal is under an obligation to prosecute or to extradite Hissène Habré. It concludes that Mr. Habré’s extradition to Belgium is the most efficient, realistic, and timely option for ensuring that Mr. Habré is able to respond to the charges against him with all the guarantees of a fair trial. If the CEAJ wished to propose an African option, it should recommend Mr. Habré’s trial in Senegal. Chad does not offer the guarantee of a fair trial. Establishment of a new ad hoc African tribunal to try Mr. Habré’s alleged crimes would require enormous political will, would be years in the making, and would probably cost over U.S.$100 million, while no existing African tribunal appears to have judicial competence over the alleged crimes. Hissène Habré’s victims have already been waiting for fifteen years to find a court to hear their case, and many of the survivors have already died.

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