African Press International (API)

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Former Chadian president on trial

Posted by African Press International on April 13, 2007

Dakar (Senegal) The trial of former Chadian President, Hissene Habre, will require 43 billion CFA francs, according to a taskforce the Senegalese government instructed to evaluate its organisation of the trial, APA learnt Tuesday from good sources.

In a report submitted to President Abdoulaye Wade, the working group set down, amongst other, the issues of compensating the judges in charge of the trial, and the judgement criteria.

El Hadj Babacar Kebe, high-ranking retired magistrate and chairman of Senegalese Association of the United Nations (ASNU) said Monday on a private radio “Sud Fm” that a trial as that of Hissene Habre is “expensive”.

« Many witnesses have to be brought to Senegal, and because of the stakes of the trial, there are very important financial expenditures to make,” he stressed, suggesting a method “of compensation enabling Senegalese judges to run the proceedings”.

“I don’t think the budget of Senegal should take care of the trial, since it is a mandate of the African Union (AU) entrusted to the country,” he pointed out, stating that “everyone should now make some efforts to raise the necessary funds for the trial”.

A representative of the “Coalition for the effective judgement of Hissene Habre”, Lawyer Demba Cire Bathily, said on “Sud Fm” that he does not understand anything in the report which is almost proposing “the impossible.”

According to him, it is not about “building new courts or creating super-magistrates,” but to make a “functional reorganisation of the current justice system,” he added, announcing that the international community and the AU are ready to partly take care of “the cost of the trial”.

In July 2006, at the time of the AU summit in Banjul, Senegal was charged to judge the former Chadian head of state in exile in the country since his overthrow in December 1990. Habre is being sued for human rights “violation”.

The AU decision followed a rejection of an extradition request to Belgium, addressed to Senegal which had then subjected it to the appreciation of the continental organisation.

The African heads of state then opposed to this request, preferring to entrust to the Senegalese justice system Habre’s judgement.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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