The Trial Chamber judges take office at the EAC
Cet article est Ă©galement disponible en : French
Dakar, Senegal, 23 April 2015
The appointment of the trial chamber judges was a highly anticipated event since the release of the indictment [French]Â of Hissein HabrĂ©, former president of Chad. The judges took office in an official ceremony held in Dakar on Thursday, 23 April. Three of the judges are Senegalese. The President of the Chamber is from Burkina Faso.
Speaking on a Burkinabe radio on 7 April following the announcement of his appointment, Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam said, â€śI view this both as a challenge and an honour. It is a challenge, because this is a huge case, which is also politically charged. It is an honour, because I was selected among many candidates.â€ť The Statute of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC), where all the other judges are Senegalese, provides for two non-Senegalese judges namely the President of the Trial Chamber and the President of the Appeals Chamber.
After graduating from the National School for Magistrates in Paris, Judge Kam started his career as an investigative judge in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. In the same interview on Radio OmĂ©ga, he indicated that thereafter, he became president of the court in Tenkogo and later, state attorney in a community-based legal aid service. In 1994, he was named president of the court in Bobo Dioulasso for three years before being transferred to Koudougou, where he served as prosecutor general of the appeals court in Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital.
However, it was no doubt because he is a civil law practitioner and has international tribunal experience that he was named President of the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary African Chambers, with the approval of the Chairman of the Commission of the African Union. In September 2004, he was named ad litem judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where he worked on several cases beginning in 2005. After a six-year stint in Arusha, Tanzania, he became a judge within the residual mechanism put in place to complete the remaining tasks of the ICTR.
During an interview in 2011 for judgeship at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Kam was asked about how to reconcile victimsâ€™ participation with due process. His answer was, â€śI have had to deal with this challenge at both the domestic and international levels. In 1998, when I was prosecutor general in a case which aroused a lot of media attention, it was crucial to strike a balance between prosecuting the case and meeting the demands of public opinion. At the ICTR, we were often confronted with such issues in the cases I worked on, and we had to contend with the pressure from the Rwandan government while at the same time upholding due process.
For the trial of Hissein HabrĂ©, Judge Kam will work with two Senegalese judges. They are Amady Diouf, who was previously technical advisor on charge of criminal cases within the Senegalese Ministry of Justice. Earlier, he was acting assistant public prosecutor of the court of appeals in Kaolack; and Moustapha Ba, formerly president of the regional criminal court in Dakar. Earlier, he was acting president of the court in Fatick. The two Senegalese judges will be assisted by an alternate judge Pape Ousmane Diallo, who is currently an advisor of the appeals court in Saint Louis.
After 19 months of investigation, the EAC decided to indict the former president of Chad for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. After examining the HabrĂ© case file, the newly-appointed judges announced that the trial is due to start on 20 July 2015.