Open Letter to the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Courts of Senegal
Published: 16 Oct 2015
Failing to Prosecute Hissène Habré for Sexual Crimes Would be Missing a Historic Opportunity
Mr. President of the Extraordinary African Chambers,
Mr. Chief Prosecutor,
We welcome the creation of the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special tribunal created by the African Union and Senegal to prosecute international crimes committed in Chad during the rule of Hissène Habré, from 1982 to 1990. The indictment of 13 February 2015 provides a list of acts committed during that period and concludes that there is sufficient evidence suggesting that Hissène Habré committed crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of torture.
Regrettably, the indictment does not include charges of rape, sexual enslavement or other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity, while it does describe instances of rape and sexual violence. Many witnesses have reported that sexual violence was used systematically during the eight-year reign of Hissène Habré, including against women prisoners – some as young as 13 years old.