Paris, July 22, 2011 (FH) - The Chadian deputy Foreign Affairs minister Mahamat Bechir Okormi stated on Friday that Chad was in support of former President Hissene Habre's extradition to Belgium for trial.

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"It seems more difficult than ever to secure the legal conditions for Hissene Habre to be tried on African soil", he declared in a statement made public.

The communiqué adds that "the right for victims to justice and the refusal of impunity as established by the African Union Treaty lead Chadian government to ask for Hissene Habre's extradition to Belgium to be favored".

Mahamat Bechir Okormi further announced that he had officially apprised the Vice-President of the AU Commission of this decision on July 21 in Addis-Abeba.

Chad's former President was sentenced to death in absentia by a Chadian court in August 2008 for crimes against humanity.

However, Senegal announced on July 8 its intention to send back to his home country Hissene Habre, who has been living in exile in Dakar since 1990.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay had immediately called on Senegal not to extradite Habre to Chad unless he was guaranteed a fair trial and didn't face the risk of torture or execution.

Two days later, Senegal backed down: "Following the request by the High Commissioner, Senegal is suspending the expulsion order", Senegal's minister of Foreign Affairs Madicke Niang announced on state television.

Belgium has requested Habre's extradition since 2005 and reiterated its request earlier this year.

In an interview with the French newspaper La Croix, Senegalese President Wade declared that, if the Senegalese court currently considering Belgium's most recent demand for extradition acceded to the request, "Habré could be extradited to Belgium by the end of July."

Habré ruled Chad from 1982 until he was toppled in 1990 by current President Idriss Déby and fled to Senegal. Habré's repressive one-party rule was marked by several massacres. Files of Habré's political police, the Direction de la Documentation et de la Sécurité (DDS), which were discovered by Human Rights Watch in 2001, reveal the names of 1,208 people who were killed or died in detention. According to HRW, a total of 12,321 victims of human rights violations were mentioned in the files.


© Hirondelle News Agency