The Hague based International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on July 20 that Senegal must prosecute Habre "without further delay" if it does not extradite him. The case was brought following a request from Belgium on February 19, 2009. Habre has been living in exile in Senegal since 1990.
In an article published Thursday by the French daily Le Monde, HRW's spokeperson Reed Brody stated that ‘’swift action [was] needed now before more survivors (of the atrocities) die without justice.’’
On July 24, Senegal and the African Union (AU) had agreed on a plan for a special court to prosecute Habre for the alleged political killings and systematic torture of innocent citizens during his eight year rule of the country (1982-1990).
‘’A fair trial for Hissene Habre would strike a blow against the circle of impunity in which leaders brutalize their citizens, pillage their treasuries, and then when their time is up move next door to join their bank account,’’ the article reads.
Whereas former Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade was blamed for deliberately delaying to prosecute Habre, the country’s new President Macky Sall committed himself saying the proceedings will take place later this year.
In March 2012, Belgium argued before the 15 judges of the ICJ that Senegal had violated the international Convention against Torture by not bringing Habré to trial.
Brussels asked the court to order Dakar to try Habré or extradite him to Belgium, where he has been indicted since 2005 for crimes against humanity and torture.