First public debate: a baptism for outreach activities! Reviewed by Momizat on . N’Djamena, 28 March 2014 More than 300 people – including parliamentarians, government officials, religious leaders, members of victims' associations, and stude N’Djamena, 28 March 2014 More than 300 people – including parliamentarians, government officials, religious leaders, members of victims' associations, and stude Rating: 0

First public debate: a baptism for outreach activities!

Cet article est également disponible en : French, Arabic

N’Djamena, 28 March 2014

More than 300 people – including parliamentarians, government officials, religious leaders, members of victims’ associations, and students – turned out for the first public debate held in N’Djamena by the Outreach Consortium on the theme: “The role of the Extraordinary African Chambers in the evolution of international criminal justice.” The debate was a success – lively, open in tone, broadcast live on private television, and covered by public television and in most Chadian media.

Outreach relating to the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) concerns all Chadian people. The purpose of this public debate was to establish a constructive and interactive dialogue on the role of the EAC in the fight against impunity for international crimes in Africa and globally. The panel was made up of individuals involved in the judicial process: Jacqueline Moudeina, a lawyer and long-time leader of Chadian victims’ struggles; Philippe Houssine, state attorney in Chad as a civil party to the African Chambers; Mbacké Fall, Attorney General of the EAC; and Ousmane Souleymane Haroun, Chadian magistrate and focal point for relations with the court of Dakar.

Moudeina gave some background on the struggle started in 1999 by Chadian human rights organizations, which, assisted first by Human Rights Watch and then by the African Union, filed complaints against the former Chadian president, exiled in Dakar. The Chadian lawyer recalled the obstacles encountered in Senegal under President Abdoulaye Wade, and the long battle to ensure that ultimately “it is Africa that judges Africa.”

“The incident occurred in Chad and the victims are Chadians. So should the state attend as a spectator or an actor?” Houssine went on to say. He added, “During his escape in 1990, Habré took a plane owned by the state and emptied the Treasury’s accounts. The state is the victim of an economic crime and that justifies the state filing a claim.” That gives it the right, he said, to bring a complaint.

Sabotage the judicial proceedings?

This position of the Chadian state, accused in particular of “having done nothing for over twenty-three years,” has provoked strong criticism from the public. According to Clement Abaifouta, a former prisoner of the DDS who was forced against his will to dig the graves of those who died at the hands of Chad’s political police, “allowing the state to bring a complaint aims to sabotage the judicial process.” “Why bring civil proceedings now? Why not arrest certain accomplices who move freely with no questioning?” he demanded.

“The state does not intend to sabotage the judicial process. It expresses its strong desire to cooperate with the EAC,” retorted Houssine. “The survey conducted in 1992 shows that the government wants a proper investigation. Some accomplices were arrested, others were released for reasons of health. We will not hesitate to arrest those against whom complaints were issued.”

Haroun reminded people of the creation of the Chadian judicial pool on 5 July 2013, charged with investigating crimes committed during the Habré era. According to him, “cooperation between the EAC and the judicial pool is in good form.” The latter supported the third rotatory commission of the EAC, which ended during the debate, accompanying it in its mission to the interior of the country. “The pool is also pursuing DDS officials here in Chad,” he added. Haroun has publicly acknowledged the positive role Moudeina has played in this case for years. Finally, he said that the transfer of suspects detained in N’Djamena could be done upon receipt of the arrest warrants issued by the EAC.

Through the EAC, “the end of impunity is set in motion and finally justice becomes a reality on the continent,” insisted Attorney General Fall. In three letters rogatory, the magistrate described the Senegalese investigative work carried out for the past year to allow the use of DDS archives, evidence collecting and visits to the field by examining magistrates. “A fourth letter rogatory is conceivable, funds permitting,” he said.

The Consortium

 

Site by Primum Africa Consulting © Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved

Scroll to top