29 July 2016
A Senegalese court ruled in Dakar on Friday that the former Chadian dictator, Hissene Habre, convicted for crimes against humanity in May, would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in reparations to his victims.
The Extraordinary African Chambers, a special criminal court set up by the African Union within the Senegalese court system, granted Habre’s victims of rape and sexual violence reparations of about 34,000 dollars each.
The prosecutor said victims of arbitrary detention, torture and prisoners of war would receive 25,000 dollars, while indirect victims would get 17,000 dollars each.
The Amnesty International described the ruling against the 73-year old, the first-ever trial of a former head of state in sub-Sahara Africa, as “a significant moment” in the victims’ quest for justice.
It, however, said it was not clear if Habre has the means to make the payments.
Amnesty International urged all parties involved to make sure that those entitled get paid.
Habre received a life sentence for having coordinated crimes against humanity, which included illegal detention, repression and sexual slavery at the end of May.
He was also convicted of war crimes and torture.
Rights groups estimated that Habre was responsible for the deaths of around 40,000 people during his rule. About 200,000 people were reportedly tortured by his regime.
The case against the 73-year-old was the first ever trial of a former head of state in sub-Sahara Africa.
Habre was detained in Dakar in July 2013, after living freely in exile in Senegal for 22 years.
His arrest had been delayed for years by Senegal’s administration, ignoring Belgian courts’ efforts to speed up the process and try him in Europe.