Adjekpagbon Blessed Mudiaga
Chadian former ruler Hissene Habre, has been arraigned by a special court in Dakar, Senegal on charges of torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity on Monday, says the Voice of America (VOA).
Habre who is 72-year-old, and his lawyers claimed that the court lacks due process and had intended to boycott the trial, but appeared in court after the Senegalese authorities forced them to comply.
According to VOA, one of Habre’s lawyers, Francois Serres, said “We consider that this procedure, this court as illegitimate.We consider the principle that there is no due process when the investigation has not been conducted fairly.”
Prior to the court’s proceeding, Habre, dressed in white with a turban, was reported to have sat quietly until some of his supporters repeatedly shouted “long live Chad and long live President Habre,” in French language.
“We were put in inhuman conditions, and given food that most would not give to dogs. I helped bury as many as eight or more fellow prisoners a day,” one of the victims, Clement Abaifouta, president of the association of the victims of crimes during the Habre regime, was quoted to have said, while relating his imprisonment in 1985.
The trial has been described as historic by others who identified themselves as victims of Habre’s rule.