From skepticism to hope for CSOs in Sarh Reviewed by Momizat on . Sarh, 29-30 September 2014  “Will Habré be judged or not?” The Director of local community radio station Lotikô raised his doubts at the opening of the workshop Sarh, 29-30 September 2014  “Will Habré be judged or not?” The Director of local community radio station Lotikô raised his doubts at the opening of the workshop Rating: 0

From skepticism to hope for CSOs in Sarh

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Sarh, 29-30 September 2014

 “Will Habré be judged or not?” The Director of local community radio station Lotikô raised his doubts at the opening of the workshop organized by the Consortium with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Sarh, Southern Chad.  “People are tired of talking about this. It has gone on for too long. Whatever happens Habré will die old, so is it worth it?”

The Director of Radio Lotikô is part of the organizations panel mobilized for the outreach campaign on the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in the southern regional capital. Likewise, the organizations representatives did not hesitate to express at first their skepticism about the outcome of the proceedings initiated in Dakar. Various questions have also been raised about victims’ compensation. Here, as with previous workshops in N’Djamena, Moundou and Mongo, CSOs for women and youth responded to the Outreach Consortium’s invitation to join the human rights and victims organizations.

“These concerns are understandable, because there has actually been very little progress since the end of the Habré regime. They have been told several times that proceedings had started, and the victims have often been let down” admits Hugo Jombwe, international law expert. Now you can tell them one thing as part of your public awareness campaign: we have never been as close to goal as now, and important work has been carried out both at the EAC and in national investigations conducted in parallel across Chad. These investigations should be completed by the end of the year, and it is estimated that a trial could start in March or April 2015.”

“The window of opportunity is unprecedented,” adds Franck Petit, communications expert for the Consortium. “For nearly a quarter century, crimes committed under Habré have not been addressed. For a year, a year and a half, a giant step has been taken, both in Senegal where the regime change has enabled the EAC to start their activities, and in Chad where judicial cooperation with the EAC allowed, on September 3rd, the referral of 21 people for a possible trial. The window is open, and now is the time for organizations to take part and take action and leave behind their doubts. We still can not guarantee anything, but today it does seem likely that in a few months we will be here to comment on the trial.”

This was a first opportunity for the participants to attend such training. “We received a lot of information, it has really motivated us. This shows that as victims of crimes committed under Habré, we are not forgotten,” said Sylvie Allah Toroum, from Cascidho. Indeed for many, the case was part of the past and talking about it was hence useless.

“The case was buried, we are going to reassure the people”

For the Regional Representative of APLFT, Adimadji Otoïbé, “this case started long ago, for us the matter was buried. But after what we have learned here, we can no longer say that. We are going to reassure the people.” The creation of the EAC brings hope and seeing Habré and his accomplices in court for their actions is highly desired. “After what I learned in two days, I now have faith. I thought the case was closed,” said Georgine Neloumta from Celiaf. For a long time, young people were ignorant of this history in Chad. Now they have begun to feel concerned. This led Beassoum Djirakenan from the Youth Coalition to state:  “I came to the workshop with great expectations, and I got a response to my concerns. We will circulate in the regions and inform young people who are indirect victims.”

The Consortium

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