Arusha, November 14, 2013 (FH) – Senegal and Chad want the war crimes trial of Chadian ex-president Hissène Habré covered by radio and television, Senegalese Justice Minister Sidiki Kaba said on Wednesday. Habré, who has been living in exile in Dakar since 1990, is expected to be tried by “Extraordinary African Chambers” within the Senegalese justice system.

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“We have already been talking to our technical partners,” Kaba told the press. “If there is indeed a trial, we want it to be covered by radio and television.” The minister was accompanied by his visiting Chadian counterpart Jean-Bernard Padaré.

“We are going to see which are the media here in Senegal and in Chad who will be charged with broadcasting it,” Kaba added, according to AFP. “Because the key thing is that this judicial process be owned by the Senegalese and Chadian people.

“Since the trial is said to be public, (...) we will have the capacity via the media to let everyone understand in quite a precise way what is happening here in Dakar,” he explained, stressing the “clear will” of the two countries’ governments “to ensure a just and fair trial” is organized in Senegal.  

Habré, 71, was president of Chad from 1982 to 1990. He is charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture committed during the eight years he ruled, until he was toppled in 1990 by the current president of Chad, Idriss Deby. Since then, Habré has been in exile in Senegal.

Dakar and the African Union signed an agreement in December 2012 to create a special tribunal to try him. In May 2013, Chad and Senegal signed an accord to allow the judges in charge of his trial to conduct investigations in Chad.

Habré was arrested on June 30 in Dakar, charged by the special tribunal two days later and placed in preventive detention. 

Chadian minister Padaré is in Dakar until Friday with a delegation including the Attorney General Massingaral Kagah.

Documents from the Directorate of Documentation and Security, Habré’s political police, obtained by Human Rights Watch in 2001, revealed the names of 1,208 people who were executed or died in detention and more than 12,000 victims of various human rights abuses.