Addis Ababa — HUMAN rights groups believe the African Union's adoption of a trust fund for victims of former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré, is a major step towards justice.
The trust fund will now be able to start collecting and disbursing reparations for victims of Habré regime that ruled between 1982 and 1990.
Victims requested reparations for serious human rights violations suffered, following the conviction and life sentencing of Habré to life in prison in 2016.
He was found guilty of rape, sexual slavery and ordering the killing of 40 000 people.
Thousands of victims participated in proceedings against Habré.
The Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Dakar, Senegal upheld the conviction and awarded CFA 82 billion (approximately R1,86 billion) to 7 396 named victims.
Human Rights Watch, REDRESS, the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights and the African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights.
Rupert Skilbeck, director of REDRESS, said while the judgment on reparations represented a pivotal moment in the long struggle for justice for Habré's victims, their suffering should be redressed by more than words.
"Victims can't wait any longer and they need the means to rebuild their lives now," Skilbeck said.
Rights advocate, Jacqueline Moudeina, said the operationalisation of the trust fund within a reasonable timeframe could finally complete the victims' long fight for justice. - CAJ News