Summary Report – The reparations awarded to victims of Hissein Habré’s crimes Reviewed by Momizat on . [caption id="attachment_40722" align="aligncenter" width="650"] ore than 500 victims were on hand in Koumra (southern Chad) to watch video footage of Hissein Ha [caption id="attachment_40722" align="aligncenter" width="650"] ore than 500 victims were on hand in Koumra (southern Chad) to watch video footage of Hissein Ha Rating: 0

Summary Report – The reparations awarded to victims of Hissein Habré’s crimes

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ore than 500 victims were on hand in Koumra (southern Chad) to watch video footage of Hissein Habré’s trial, in May 2016

ore than 500 victims were on hand in Koumra (southern Chad) to watch video footage of Hissein Habré’s trial, in May 2016

Dakar, Senegal, 4 August 2016

For the victims, this was a long-awaited decision. The Extraordinary African Trial Chamber on Friday, 29 July 2016, issued its decision on the reparations requests filed by Chadian organisations representing the civil parties in the case against Hissein Habré.

The decision followed the one issued on 30 May 2016 by which Hissein Habré was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes. The defence appealed the latter decision. On Monday, 1 August, the full trial chamber judgement was released; it includes the decision in the criminal proceedings and the decision on the civil party claims. The judgement is available via the following link: JugementCAEd’Assises_Penal&Civil.pdf

Trial Chamber findings

In its decision in the criminal proceedings, the Chamber acceded to the victims’ requests for reparations, and ordered Hissein Habré to pay:

  • 20 million CFA francs to each victim of repeated rape and sexual violence;
  • 15 million CFA francs to each victim of unlawful detention and torture, each prisoner of war and each massacre survivor; and
  • 10 million CFA francs to each indirect victim.

However, the Chamber rejected the requests for collective reparations. It found inadmissible the request for the Chadian Government to be held civilly liable and thus be ordered to for paying any reparations that Hissein Habré cannot afford to pay. Lastly, the Chamber ordered the seizure of Hissein Habré’s assets for purposes of funding the reparations.

Civil parties’ requests

After the verdict, the Trial Chamber president invited the civil parties to submit their requests in writing. The civil parties submitted their requests in two groups: one group comprising two organisations, namely the League of Human Rights Associations in Chad (RADHT) and the Association of Victims of the Crimes and Political Repression (AVCRP); the other group comprising one organisation, namely the Association of Victims of the Crimes of the Hissein Habré Regime (AVCRHH). The first group (RADHT and AVCRP) requested pecuniary compensation on behalf of 3,850 victims. The second group (AVCRHH) requested pecuniary compensation on behalf of 4,733 victims; it also requested collective reparations.

The EAC awarded damages to identified victim

The Chamber noted that only some of the applicants had supplied official identification credentials. It specified that admissible victims were those who had supplied identification credentials and those who participated in the investigation or the trial and whose identity was verified before the court. A list of [victims’] names is annexed to the decision, but the total number of victims is not indicated; some names are duplicated. So to date, while the identity of the victims who qualify for damages is known, their total number is yet to be established.

Requests for collective reparations rejected

The civil parties group affiliated to AVCRHH (Clément Abaïfouta et al.) had requested that 30 per cent of the funds earmarked for compensation to victims be used to pay for collective reparations for the benefit of the entire community affected by the crimes. In their request, the civil parties mentioned development projects, erection of monuments, including this period of the country’s history in school curricula, and building socio-professional training facilities for indirect, women and children.

The EAC Statute identifies three types of reparations: compensation, rehabilitation and restitution. That does not include symbolic measures. As for requests for rehabilitation projects, the Chamber noted that it was unable to assess the feasibility of such projects since it had not received accurate information about cost and location, and therefore that it could not order the remedy sought. As to requests relating to education and training or a national day of remembrance, the Chamber noted that it could not oblige the Chadian Government to undertake actions which fall within the scope of Chad’s sovereignty.

Request to hold the Chadian Government responsible rejected

On the premise that Hissein Habré acted as representative of the State and that he concentrated all the powers in his hands as the country’s president, supreme commander of its armed forces and its minister of defence, the AVCRP-RADHT civil parties group requested that the Chadian Government to be held civilly liable, and hence be ordered to contribute to funding any reparations that the accused could not afford to pay. The Chamber held that in order for it to accede to that request, it would have been necessary to afford the Government Chad the opportunity to participate in the proceedings. The EAC judges pointed out that Chad is not a party to the proceedings. Hence why the request was rejected.

Seizure of Hissein Habré’s assets

The EAC Trial Chamber had ordered the provisional seizure of many of the accused’s assets with a view to “safeguarding the interests of the civil parties”. The decision cites a 1,336 square-metre villa in Dakar’s Africa neighbourhood and two bank accounts, one at the BICIS Bank and the other at the CBAO Bank. In its decision of 29 July, the Chamber approved seizure of the assets, because the accused, Hissein Habré, was ordered to pay various sums of money to the victims by way of reparation for the harm they suffered.

The decision on the civil claims is appealable within 15-day period.

The Consortium

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