From the UN News Center:
The top United Nations human rights official has welcomed changes to Senegal’s constitution to make it possible for national courts to try crimes against humanity, paving the way for former Chadian leader Hissene Habre to be tried for alleged crimes committed during the 1980s.
Mr. Habre ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was overthrown and went into exile in Senegal, where he has lived ever since.
Senegal’s National Assembly adopted the latest amendment to the constitution on Tuesday, which together with previous changes allows the country’s legal system to deal with such cases.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour welcomed the move as “a very positive development in the struggle to strengthen accountability and an important step forward in the never-ending fight against impunity.”
During Mr. Habre’s rule, thousands of Chadians were allegedly tortured, and unlawful killings and other serious human rights violations took place. He was charged in February 2000 by a lower court in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, but an appeals court later ruled that Senegalese courts did not have the legal competence to try such cases if they were perpetrated in another country.
Read Arbour’s full statement.