The war crimes trial of Chadian former President Hissene Habre, has resumed today in Senegal’s capital, Dakar.
The trial which, comes 45 days after he and his lawyers boycotted the court, marks the first time an African ex-president faces justice in sub-Saharan Africa.
Habre stands accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, and will face the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special criminal court set up by the African Union within the Senegalese court system.
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So far, about 2,500 of the dictator’s victims had submitted their testimonies, including those of Rights groups who accused the 72-year-old of being responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people during his time in power.
But Habre – who is said to have prevented all forms of opposition during his rule from 1982 to 1990 by using a system of arrest, torture and murder – refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court.
The ex-president, who was previously dragged into the courtroom did not stand up or respond when called on by the judge when the trial began in July, instead he interrupted the proceedings shouting that it was a “farce’’.
The court has meanwhile appointed a new team of lawyers to represent Habre for the remainder of the trial.