Source Pravda.Ru

AU must decide if ex-Chad dictator can be sent to Belgium for war-crimes trial

The African Union will discuss and decide the fate of Chad's ex-dictator Hissene Habre, wanted in Belgium for trial on human-rights abuses allegedly committed during his regime, Senegal's foreign minister said Sunday.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade discussed the issue with Nigerian president and current AU head Olusegun Obasanjo, and the subject will be on the table at a two-day AU conference scheduled to begin January 23 in Khartoum, Sudan, Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said.

Whether Habre should be extradited to Belgium for trial "isn't a Senegalese affair but an African affair," Gadio told reporters in the capital, Dakar.

Belgium had issued an international arrest warrant for Habre under its "universal jurisdiction" laws, which allow for prosecutions for crimes against humanity wherever they were committed. A Senegalese court said Friday it wasn't competent to rule on the extradition demand.

Habre, who was jailed for days pending a court decision but later released, has lived in exile with his family in Dakar since he was ousted by rebels in his homeland in 1990.

A commission set up in Chad in 1992 accused Habre's regime of 40,000 political killings and 200,000 cases of torture.

In 2001, Senegal's high court dismissed war crimes charges against Habre, ruling it had no jurisdiction.

Habre, a French-trained military tactician, had ruled Chad with the backing of France and the United States. He fled after defeat at the hands of rebels led by his former ally Idriss Deby, Chad's current president, AP reported. V.A.

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