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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 09:23 GMT
Ex-Chad leader's trial 'delayed'
Chad's former President Hissene Habre (file photo, 1987)
Hissene Habre's regime is accused of widespread murder and torture
Chad's former President Hissene Habre will not be tried in exile in Senegal for at least three years, Senegal's foreign minister has said.

Cheikh Tidiane Gadio said that time was required to establish many aspects of the judicial process.

Mr Habre, dubbed Africa's Pinochet, faces charges of alleged human rights abuses during eight years in office.

He fled to Senegal in 1990 and last year the African Union (AU) asked for him to be prosecuted there.

"To respect the rules... the rights of the accused as well as the rights of the victims, the inquiry will take time and Hissene Habre will not be judged for at least three years," Mr Gadio said after an AU summit in Ethiopia, AFP news agency reports.

Earlier attempts to prosecute Mr Habre in Senegal have been hampered by judicial rulings preventing him from being tried there.

But last November, the Senegalese government said preparations were under way for the trial and that domestic law would be changed to accommodate the prosecution.

In the absence of any prosecution two years ago, Belgium moved to try Mr Habre under its human rights laws, which allow nationals of any country to face charges within Belgium.

However, the AU ruled that Africa should dispense its own justice.

Mr Habre, who is in his 60s, was deposed in an uprising led by current President Idriss Deby and denies knowledge of the alleged murder and torture of political opponents.

A Commission of Inquiry formed after he was deposed in 1990 said his government carried out some 40,000 politically motivated murders and 200,000 cases of torture in the eight years he was in power.

His dreaded political police force, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS), was accused of some of the worst abuses.

Profile: Chad's Hissene Habre
03 Jul 06 |  Africa
UN gives Senegal Habre deadline
19 May 06 |  Africa
Chad euphoric at Habre's arrest
17 Nov 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Chad
04 May 05 |  Country profiles

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