Page last updated at 08:11 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 09:11 UK

Senegal changes law to try Habre

Chad's former President Hissene Habre (File photo: 1990)
Hissene Habre's regime is accused of widespread murder and torture

Senegal's national assembly has amended the country's constitution to allow the trial of Chad ex-leader Hissene Habre.

Mr Habre, dubbed "Africa's Pinochet", is accused of human rights abuses during his eight years in power.

He has been living in exile in Senegal's capital under nominal house arrest since fleeing Chad in 1990.

There have been a number of international efforts to bring him to justice, but Senegal has always refused to accept any extradition requests.

In 2006, the African Union (AU) asked for him to be prosecuted in Senegal.

However, an earlier Senegalese court ruling said that it did not have jurisdiction to try Mr Habre on war crimes charges.

The BBC's Tidiane Sy in the capital, Dakar, says now that the constitution has been changed, it clears the way for the case to proceed.

The only obstacle could be lack of funds, he says, although last year France pledged to assist Senegal financially and technically to bring Mr Habre to trial.

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

A commission of inquiry said his government was responsible for some 40,000 politically motivated murders and 200,000 cases of torture.

Profile: Chad's Hissene Habre
03 Jul 06 |  Africa
Chad euphoric at Habre's arrest
17 Nov 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Chad
04 May 05 |  Country profiles
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26 Jul 07 |  Have Your Say

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