Arusha, October 21, 2014 (FH) – Chad has rejected a cooperation request from the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC), further complicating the efforts of this Senegal-based special tribunal to bring to justice those most responsible for crimes committed in Chad under Hissène Habré (1982 -1990).

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According to a communiqué posted on the EAC website, the Chadian authorities on October 14 rejected a request for an EAC rogatory commission to go to Chad “to proceed with the questioning and charging” of two former Habré aides, Saleh Younous and Mahamat Djibrine. Both men are currently detained in Ndjamena.

Lawyers for the victims have slammed what they say is contempt on the part of Ndjamena.

Younous and Djibrine are both under EAC investigation for crimes against humanity and are under international arrest warrants issued more than a year ago. Chad had promised to transfer them to the EAC in Dakar but has now apparently changed track.

The rogatory mission requested by the EAC on October 3 was planned for October 18 to November 2. “However, it will not now go ahead,” says the EAC.

For victims’ lawyers (Collectif des avocats des victimes), “Chad’s refusal to transfer the two Habré accomplices and its rejection of the EAC rogatory commission request show Chad’s contempt for the EAC and for the African Union mandate”.

The EAC were created under an agreement between Senegal and the AU.

“After a year of unkept promises, the Chadian authorities have slowed the procedures, thus demonstrating that they do not respect African and international justice,” the lawyers’ collective says in a communiqué received by Hirondelle.

The lawyers urge the EAC not to be discouraged by Ndjamena’s refusal to cooperate. “The aim of the long struggle of survivors, widows and orphans has always been to bring to justice Hissène Habré, the head of state who ordered the repression,” they say. “He is the one most responsible for the massive abuses committed under his regime. The EAC must move forward and set an example by trying the former dictator.”

Habré, who has been living in Senegal since 1990, was arrested at his Dakar home in June 2013 and charged two days later with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture.

The lawyers say that if Chad wants to try Saleh Younouss and Mahamat Djibrine in its own courts, then it must organize free and fair trials. “The Chadian government should move forward and bring these two individuals to justice (…), along with all the other accomplices of Habré, in line with international standards and penal procedure,” they say.