Chad’s ex-dictator man-handled into Dakar courtroom

Hissene Habre has repeatedly refused to recognize the Senegal-based court

Hissene Habre has repeatedly refused to recognize the Senegal-based court

Former Chadian ruler Hissene Habre was forcibly dragged into the courtroom in the Senegalese Capital Dakar as his long awaited trial resumed.

Spectators witnessed dramatic scenes in the courtroom as Mr. Habre was restrained but kept shouting “shut up, shut up” repeatedly as the clerk read aloud the names of his alleged victims.

The high profile trial, and the first of its kind on the African soil was adjourned in July when Habre was similarly forced to appear, and then kicked out of court for contempt after he yelled out “Down with imperialists. [The trial] is a farce by rotten Senegalese politicians. African traitors. Valet of America”.

Habre is accused of masterminding the killing of about 40,000 people during his 8-year rule from 1982-1990.

The dictator who has been nick-named “Africa’s Pinochet” after former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, is facing counts of torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, he denies them all.

The Dakar special tribunal setup three years ago as an alternative to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has been backed by the African Union, and the international community including the US.

African leaders have rebuked the ICC for ‘witch-hunting’ Africans and some have threatened to leave the court.

Habre had been living in Senegal for more than two decades until he was arrested two years ago following Human Right Watch intense pressure on the Dakar government to pursue Justice for the victims.