Civil activists Dingamnayal Nely Versinis (L) and Maounde Decladore (R) speak during a meeting in N'Djamena on 24 July 2017. AFP/Samir TOUNSI

Socio-economic problems are mounting in Chad, a country seen by foreign partners as critical to stability in the Sahel. In the capital Ndjamena and in the provinces, popular discontent appears set to grow as the cost of living in the oil-dependent central African country continues to rise. After a small economic improvement in 2019, Chadians are likely to see tougher times ahead with the drop in international oil prices and the global recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to control its spread.

Chad also faces new security problems and political uncertainty. Over the last year, the country’s north has been hit by both Chadian rebel incursions from southern Libya and, in another northern area, a spike in tensions between security forces and local self-defence groups.…  Seguir leyendo »

Authorities and politicians like to talk of the fight against impunity. Yet while the reality of this struggle has intensified, it remains worrying that it is so limited. The case of Hissène Habré - president of Chad in the 1980s, tried in Senegal three years ago - offers us a good perspective on one of the main limits of this struggle.

The fight against impunity can be described in three stages.

Recognition of suffering

The first one is recognition of victims’ suffering. This recognition should be public. It is sometimes through the courts if victims use legal channels to establish the violations suffered: these are the different human rights procedures that can be carried out at national, regional or global level.…  Seguir leyendo »

French mirage 2000-D from the Barkhane force lands after a tactical mission in N'Djamena on 22 December 2018. French president is on visit to meet with Chadian president and with soldiers from the Barkhane mission in Africa's Sahel region. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

What happened?

On 3-6 February 2019, at the request of N’Djamena, planes from the French Operation Barkhane proceeded with a series of strikes against a group of Chadian rebels in the north east of the country. According to rebels’ spokesperson Youssouf Hamid Ishagh, the Union of Resistance Forces (Union des forces de la résistance – UFR), a coalition based in Libya, intended to reach the capital N’Djamena in order to overthrow President Idriss Déby and “set up a transitional government uniting all of the country’s forces”. The plan was aborted following the French intervention. Composed mainly of Zaghawa fighters from Déby’s own ethnic community, this rebel movement is directed by Timan Erdimi, the president’s nephew, who lives in Qatar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Elle paraît infiniment plus vieille que ses 16 ans. Sur les photos, elle ne sourit pas. Ses yeux sont vides, bouffis de cernes. Comment rire encore, du rire clair et pur de l’adolescence, lorsqu’on a été mariée de force à 13 ans ? Pourtant, contrairement à tant d’autres, Hawariya Mahamat Abdoulaye a pu échapper à son destin. Enlevée, violée et torturée pendant plus d’un an par un époux quinquagénaire, elle a fini par fuir à pied, en pleine brousse, ignorant le danger, les prédateurs et les coupeurs de route, mais peut-être préférait-elle la mort au calvaire qu’elle venait d’endurer. Recueillie à N'Djamena, la capitale tchadienne, par une partie de sa famille, elle a fini par porter plainte contre son tortionnaire.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chad is facing a severe fiscal and social crisis. On 7-8 September, President Idriss Déby is in Paris for an International Donor Conference to seek much-needed funding for the country’s National Development Program. The government likes to portray the country’s problems as due to external shocks like the drop in oil prices and the cost of military intervention against Boko Haram and other extremists. Donors, under pressure from France, largely accept this narrative and support has recently been forthcoming from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But a closer look at the country’s recent history tells another story.

According to the Chadian economy minister, the conference aims to mobilise support “for the transformation of Chadian economy”.…  Seguir leyendo »

One of the world’s worst humanitarian crises is unfolding in West Africa’s Lake Chad region, where 11 million people are in urgent need of emergency aid.

Nigeria, its neighbours, and the world are struggling to find an adequate response. Failure to do so will condemn millions to more suffering, and raise the region’s vulnerability to violent extremism.

Donors meeting at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region on Friday must seize the opportunity to act more effectively.

Up to 100,000 people may have died in the seven-year Boko Haram insurgency, according to Governor Kassim Shettima of Borno State in Nigeria’s northeast, the epicentre of the fighting.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dichosas democracias africanas

Como anunciara sin ambages, Teodoro Obiang se sucedió a sí mismo en la presidencia de Guinea Ecuatorial, al obtener casi tantos votos como votantes en los recientes comicios de abril. Torturas, detenciones, amenazas y tantas irregularidades palmarias que jalonaron el proceso no empalidecen la «victoria apoteósica» del «líder carismático», sancionada por observadores reverentes, encabezados por el designado por la Unión Africana (UA), Thomas Yayi Boni, expresidente del vecino Benín, a quien Barack Obama negó el saludo en la reciente cumbre mundial sobre el clima en París. Nada impide cumplir sus designios al mandatario más longevo del continente; con 73 años, seguirá sirviéndose de su patria hasta 2023, y entonces pergeñará nuevos pretextos para continuar en un sillón ocupado en 1979, del que ni la muerte le separará.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’ancien dictateur tchadien Hissène Habré, lors de sa condamnation le 30 mai à Dakar. Photo Carley Petesch. AP

Le 30 mai, Hissène Habré, ancien dictateur du Tchad entre 1982 et 1990, a été condamné à vie par les Chambres africaines extraordinaires (CAE), un tribunal créé pour l’occasion par le Sénégal et l’Union africaine. Une première dans le domaine juridique, mais s’agit-il d’un pas vers une justice africaine ?

La création des CAE a vu le jour après de multiples atermoiements en 2013 pour un procès qui a, lui aussi, connu de nombreux rebondissements après son ouverture, en septembre 2015. La théâtralité de la défense de Hissène Habré, lequel ne reconnaît pas la légitimité de ces CAE, n’a d’égale que l’ampleur des crimes pour lesquels il a été condamné : «crimes contre l’humanité», «viols», «crimes de guerre» et «torture».…  Seguir leyendo »

Des proches de victimes de l’ancien président tchadien Hissène Habré assistant à une séance du tribunal spécial cré pour le juger, à Dakar, au Sénégal. Credit Cemil Oksuz/Anadolu Agency, via Agence France-Presse


a semaine dernière, les acteurs du procès de Hissène Habré se sont retrouvés ici pour leurs plaidoiries finales devant les Chambres africaines extraordinaires (CAE), un tribunal créé spécialement pour juger l’ancien président du Tchad. Habré, au pouvoir de juin 1982 à décembre 1990, est poursuivi, entre autres, pour de nombreux crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité commis contre ses opposants politiques.

Le procès est un événement majeur dans le domaine de la justice pénale internationale. Il est exceptionnel qu’un tribunal d’un pays juge l’ancien président d’un autre pays. Il est inédit que cela se déroule devant un tribunal expressément mandaté par l’Union africaine pour juger l’un des siens “au nom de l’Afrique.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week the parties to the trial of Hissène Habré gathered here to make their closing arguments before the Extraordinary African Chambers (E.A.C.), a court specially set up to judge the former president of Chad. Mr. Habré, who was in power from June 1982 to December 1990, stands accused, among other things, of committing numerous crimes against humanity and war crimes against his political opponents.

This trial is a major event in the field of international criminal justice. It’s uncommon for one country to judge the former president of another country. It’s unprecedented for this to take place before a court expressly appointed by the African Union to pass judgment on one of its own “in the name of Africa.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Reunir una lista de las guerras a las que más atención y apoyo debe prestar la comunidad internacional en 2016 es difícil, y no por buenos motivos. Tras el fin de la guerra fría, durante veinte años, el número de conflictos mortales disminuyó. Había menos guerras y mataban a menos gente. Sin embargo, hace cinco años, esa tendencia positiva se invirtió, y desde entonces cada año hay más conflictos, más víctimas y más personas desplazadas. No parece que en 2016 vaya a mejorar la situación de 2015: lo que está en alza no es la paz, sino la guerra.

Dicho esto, hay algunos conflictos cuya urgencia y cuya importancia son mayores que las de otros.…  Seguir leyendo »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2016

Pulling together a list of the wars most in need of international attention and support in 2016 is challenging for all the wrong reasons. For 20 years after the end of the Cold War, deadly conflict was in decline. Fewer wars were killing fewer people the world over. Five years ago, however, that positive trend went into reverse, and each year since has seen more conflict, more victims, and more people displaced. 2016 is unlikely to bring an improvement from the woes of 2015: It is war — not peace — that has momentum.

That said, there are conflicts whose urgency and importance rise above.…  Seguir leyendo »

A month ago on Thursday, time stopped for me. I will forever remember the intense emotion I felt when the man who had ruled my country with a bloody fist stood a few yards away from us. The feeling that bonded us all that day in Dakar -- widows and survivors of Hissène Habré's regime -- was indescribable. Finally, we were beginning to experience the justice that we had awaited for so long.

After 25 years, Habré, Chad's former dictator, is in the dock at the Extraordinary African Chambers created by Senegal and the African Union. I have wanted to write these words since God allowed me to recover my freedom after 2½ years in the desolate dungeons that were Habré's jails.…  Seguir leyendo »

Surrounded by 10 muscular prison guards, Hissène Habré, his frail body entirely swathed in white, looked smothered in his chair. He was sitting in the front row of the immense courtroom, fingering Muslim prayer beads. His boubou covered all but his eyes, and they were partly hidden by his glasses.

Mr. Habré, the 72-year-old former president of Chad, is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture regarding the deaths of an alleged 40,000 people during his rule between 1982 and 1990. July 20 was the first day of his trial before the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special court he has repeatedly denounced as “illegitimate and illegal.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Plus de 600 victimes entendues et près d’une trentaine de témoins-clés auditionnés. C’est une petite révolution judiciaire qui est en cours depuis peu au Tchad. Pour la première fois en Afrique, les juridictions d’un Etat du continent, le Sénégal, enquêtent sur des crimes internationaux commis sur le territoire d’un autre, le Tchad. Une commission rogatoire est en déplacement à N’Djaména pour enquêter sur les crimes présumés de l’ex-dictateur tchadien Hissène Habré. En ce mois d’été pluvieux, une foule de victimes est entassée dans le commissariat de N’Djaména. Elles sont des centaines à venir, de toutes les régions du pays. Dure réalité du Tchad qui s’impose aux Sénégalais : rares sont les familles de la société tchadienne non touchées par les désastres du régime de Habré.…  Seguir leyendo »

L'arrestation le 30 juin 2013 à Dakar de l'ancien président de la République du Tchad, Hissène Habré, pourrait sonner le début d'une nouvelle ère de justice sur le continent africain. Accusé et inculpé par la chambre d'accusation des Chambres africaines extraordinaires d'être responsable durant son mandat (de 1982 à 1990) de crimes contre l'humanité, crimes de guerres et actes de torture, l'ancien chef d'Etat tchadien avait trouvé refuge dans la capitale du Sénégal où il avait échappé jusque-là à différentes tentatives de poursuite judiciaire. Reste maintenant à lui assurer un procès juste et rigoureusement équitable, socle de l'esprit de justice. C'est a ce prix que le Sénégal sera un véritable précurseur dans l'accession de l'Afrique au temps de la justice.…  Seguir leyendo »

When President Obama visits Senegal this week, he will have the opportunity to show his support for a bold initiative to bring to justice the dictator responsible for torturing me and thousands of my countrymen.

On Dec. 1, 1990, when Hissen Habre's rule in Chad came to an end and he fled to Senegal, I emerged from almost three years of mistreatment in detention for a crime I did not commit — being a rebel fighter against Habre. My body was weak and my bones were frail, but my resolve to seek justice was strong.

For the next 22 years, despite betrayals and danger, my fellow victims and I have fought on, gathering testimony and evidence against Habre.…  Seguir leyendo »

A proud nation of peace, Norway has traditionally been one of the staunchest supporters of UN peacekeeping. But this is now turning, as Norway may pull the plug on the entire UN peacekeeping commitment in Chad. By recalling the entire Norwegian medical contingent starting on 15 May, the fate of nearly a 250,000 refugees – many from the Darfur region – will be left uncertain.

The UN force in Chad is essential for the stability of the Darfur region. In eastern Chad on the border with Darfur, the famine would be greater and the violence no doubt more extensive without the many escorts and patrols of UN peacekeepers.…  Seguir leyendo »

During the dictatorship of Hissène Habré in Chad, I was wrongfully accused of political activity and imprisoned. Our jail was infested with insects, and the heat was nearly unbearable. Packed in our cells, we had to take turns to sleep, often on top of the corpses of other prisoners who had died from torture, disease or malnutrition. We were forbidden to pray aloud. And every night, President Habré’s political police took away prisoners who never returned.

As we were cut off from the outside world, our only news was that brought by new prisoners. It was thus that Brahim, a man who would later die in jail, told us that Nelson Mandela had been freed and had walked out of prison a hero.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pourquoi le Sénégal tarde-t-il à juger l’ancien dictateur tchadien Hissène Habré, exilé à Dakar depuis sa chute en 1990 et accusé de crimes contre l’humanité, crimes de guerre et actes de torture ? En 2006, le comité contre la torture des Nations unies a condamné le Sénégal pour violation de la Convention contre la torture et lui a demandé de juger Habré ou de l’extrader. Depuis, aucune instruction judiciaire n’a été ouverte. Quand Habré est renversé par Idriss Déby en 1990, il prend ses dispositions pour s’assurer une protection sur sa terre d’exil : il emporte la caisse du Trésor public.…  Seguir leyendo »