On Chadian radio: direct questions about the EAC Reviewed by Momizat on . N’Djamena, 23 and 26 March 2014 The outreach team was invited to participate in two radio programs to answer direct questions asked by the Chadian general publi N’Djamena, 23 and 26 March 2014 The outreach team was invited to participate in two radio programs to answer direct questions asked by the Chadian general publi Rating: 0

On Chadian radio: direct questions about the EAC

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N’Djamena, 23 and 26 March 2014

The outreach team was invited to participate in two radio programs to answer direct questions asked by the Chadian general public on the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC): Dimanche Chez Nous on the private radio station Radio FM Libertés; and Signe des temps on national radio station ONRTV.

Both programmes focused on the theme of “The Extraordinary African Chambers, a turning point for criminal justice in Africa. What is their contribution to the rule of law?”. Experts and listeners were able to take part in the dialogue. By participating in these programs, the Consortium aims firstly to stimulate debate on the EAC, but also to explain the phases of the trial, the rights of victims, their expectations and the rights of the accused. These interactive programs enabled listeners to get in touch with the guests. Questions were asked by telephone live on the air. This was in order to reach as many as possible and to understand their concerns and expectations vis-à-vis the EAC.

The Attorney General of the EAC, was a guest on the show “Dimanche chez nous”. He clarified the role, organization and functioning of the Chambers and gave an update on the current state of the judicial process. He described the purpose of the third international rogatory commission of the EAC, which justified its presence on the ground in Chad during the show.

“The trial is not far away”

“How do you see the future of this trial?” the presenter asked.  “In the exploration phase,” the Attorney General said, “we commissioned an expert to authenticate records; we checked the correlation between what is written in the file and the answers provided orally by the victims; we went to Belgium for the copy of Mr. Habré’s dossier, and the rotatory commission came three times to Chad. A fourth commission is possible, if financial resources allow us, in order to bring together the essential elements for the trial to occur. The trial is not far away.”

“What do outreach activities consist of” “It is basically about making an extra effort, going to the people and telling them about the trial,” said Franck Petit, communications expert at the Consortium. “It is also about learning from the difficulties experienced by the trials in The Hague to deal with crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, as compared to the more successful outreach experiences of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Tribunal for Rwanda where trials occurred 2000 km away from the population. Informing the public about what is happening is very important.”

“An African international tribunal has been established for the first time. What is at stake?” “This procedure is primarily important to fight impunity, to implement justice and to serve as an example,” responded Hugo Jombwe, an expert in international law for the Outreach Consortium. By creating the EAC, Africa has taken the lead. This is something the continent had not done at the time of the creation of other international courts initiated by the United Nations. The stakes are high for Africa and beyond in the fight against the impunity of world leaders.”

Several listeners spoke out to say they still do not believe the trial will be held, since the victims have waited 23 years the trial and continue to wait. Others openly criticized the fact the Chadian government would be a civil party, while, in their opinion, it did nothing for all these years. One listener believed this may hinder the work of judges and that “the trial will not be fair or just.” Several listeners also questioned the Consortium on compensation for victims after the trial.

“The CAE will carry out their job impartially and will not be influenced,” said Gilbert Maoundonodji, expert in political sciences at the Consortium. The existence of the EAC is an African innovation for Africans to be judged by Africans. It serves as an example to individuals who think they are above the law.”

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