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Chad’s ex-president seeks to overturn life sentence

April 27, 2017 - SENEGAL

A special African Union court in Dakar will rule on an appeal against the life sentence of former Chadian president Hissene Habre. The court sentenced him in May 2016 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Court-appointed lawyers acting for Habre launched the appeal. They argue that the trial by the special court was marred by procedural errors. Agence France-Presse notes that the 74-year-old ex-dictator has refused to recognize the court's authority.

The unprecedented ruling by the Extraordinary African Chambers, a body created by Senegal and the African Union (AU), is seen as a blow to the impunity long enjoyed by repressive rulers. Up to 40,000 people were killed and many more kidnapped, raped or tortured during Habre's time as president, according to AFP.

Habre fled to Senegal after his 1990 ouster by Chad's current President Idriss Deby, and for more than 20 years lived freely in an upmarket Dakar suburb with his wife and children. He will serve his sentence in Senegal or in another AU country if it is upheld.

Court to rule on ex-Chad dictator's appeal on April 27 (AFP 12 Jan 2017)

Chad's ex-president seeks to overturn verdict (BBC 9 Jan 2017)

Date written/update: 2017-01-17