Hissene Habre

Hissene Habre

Country Ruled: Chad

Years Ruled: 1982-1990

Current Residence: Senegal


Hissene Habre ruled the former French colony of Chad from 1982 until he was deposed in 1990 by current president Idriss De and fled to Senegal. His one-party regime was marked by widespread atrocities. Habreaunched campaigns against ethnic groups in the south (1984), and against the Hadjerai (1987) and the Zaghawa (1989), killing and arresting leaders and extended families and even destroying whole communities when he perceived that the groups were hostile to his regime. The exact number of Habre victims is not known. A 1992 Truth Commission accused Habre government of tens of thousands of political murders and systematic torture. Most predations were carried out by Habre dreaded political police, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS) which reported directly to Habre

The United States and France supported Habres a bulwark against Moemmar Khadaffi of Libya, Chad's northern neighbor. Under President Ronald Reagan, the United States gave covert CIA paramilitary support to help Habreake power and later provided Habreith massive military aid and gave training and support to the DDS, even as it engaged in atrocities. The United States also used a clandestine base in Chad to train captured Libyan soldiers whom it was organizing into an anti-Khaddafi force.

Since Habre fall, Chadians have sought to bring him to justice. The Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime (AVCRP) compiled information on 792 victims of Habre brutality, hoping to use the cases in a prosecution of HabreThe Truth Commission called for the "immediate prosecution" of those responsible for atrocities. With many ranking officials of the De government involved in Habre crimes, however, the new government did not indict Habrer pursue his extradition from Senegal.

A Belgian judge is continuing his probe after an historic mission to Chad to investigate atrocity charges against Chad's exiled former president, Hissene Habre. Habre lives in exile in Senegal, where he was indicted on charges of torture and crimes against humanity before the Senegalese courts ruled that he could not be tried there. Habre victims are now seeking his extradition to stand trial in Belgium, and Senegal has agreed to hold him pending an extradition request. In the meantime, the case has opened new possibilities for bringing Habre accomplices to justice in Chad itself.

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Mr. Habre is available for immediate assignment.

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