A Special African Court sitting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, is getting set to begin the trial of the former Chadian President, Hissène Habré, over alleged human rights abuses committed during his rule from 1982 to 1990. But the cost of the trial is expected to be enormous, worth at least FCFA 5.5 billion, according to a recent release from the court.
The pilot committee for financing the activities of the court met last week in Dakar under the chair of the African Union Legal Adviser, Vincent O. Nmehielle. The meeting was also attended by other stakeholders such as representatives of the court, Senegalese Ministry of Justice, Chad, UN and financing countries.
Created for the special purpose of trying Hissène Habré, the court began work last February. The ex-Head of State faces charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. Senegal in August 2012 gave its word to the proposal by the African Union to create the court to be manned by African judges appointed by the continental body. Habré, who has been living in Senegal since his overthrow in 1982 by current Chadian President, Idriss Deby Itno, was arrested about a year ago.
According to a commission of inquiry set up by the Chadian government, over 40,000 people died under Habré's eight-year reign. Meanwhile, the special court is due to rule on August 13, 2014, on the Chadian government's request to be included as civil claimant in the trial. The court is also awaiting the transfer to Dakar from the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, of two alleged accomplices of the former leader arrested recently by the government.