Hissène Habré

The Trial of Hissène Habré

On May 30, 2016, former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré was convicted of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, including sexual violence and rape, by the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese court system and sentenced to life in prison. On April 27, 2017, an appeals court confirmed the verdict and ordered Habré to pay approximately 123 million euros in victim compensation. The advent of the trial, 25 years after Habré was overthrown and fled to Senegal, was entirely due to the perseverance and tenacity of Habré’s victims and their allies. The New York Times has called the case “a Milestone for Justice in Africa.”

Reed Brody, who coordinated the case for Human Rights Watch, has written an account of how the case was developed and why it succeeded.