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Jurist HRW: Chad government owes millions in compensation to victims of former war-criminal president

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Nov 11, 2016
Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as several Chadian organizations and news outlets, Friday announced that victims of the late President of Chad, Hissène Habré, have still not received their court-ordered reparations. This delay has continued for over seven years, following Habré’s conviction in Senegal in 2016.

In 2016, Habré was convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including torture, sexual violence, and rape. A Senegalese court sentenced him to life in prison, where he died in 2021. This trial remains the first in the world where the courts of one country convicted the former ruler of another for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Similarly, a court in Chad in 2015 convicted Habré’s security agents on charges of murder and torture. In both cases, the courts ordered compensation worth of millions of dollars to the victims.

Despite this, the victims have not received these court awards. Two of the “most active victims” have recently died, while others are in poor health and “desperate need,” according to the lead counsel for the victims, Jacqueline Moudeina. She went on to stress that, “Habré’s victims are heroes who fought relentlessly for 25 years to bring him and his henchmen to justice, and were awarded millions of dollars, but they haven’t seen one cent in reparations.”

Similarly, Adoumbaye Dam Pierre, a former prisoner under Habré’s regime and the current president of the Association of Victims of the Crimes of Hissène Habré, urged that:

The African Union and the Chadian government need to come together and implement these court decisions so that the victims, at long last, can receive reparations for what we suffered […] We fought for decades for those decisions and now we have to fight again to get the decisions enforced.
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