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Too soon until it got too late? Hissène Habré reparations


Too soon until it got too late? Overcoming the challenges of implementing the reparations awarded against Hissène Habré – 1st November 2018


The School of Law was pleased to host a talk given by Nader I. Diab, former legal officer of REDRESS, an international NGO seeking justice for survivors. Organised by the Human Rights Centre, the talk dealt with challenges of implementing the reparations awarded to victims in the case against Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad.

Nader Diab began by tracing the creation of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EAC) in Senegal to prosecute Hissène Habré, the sole case judged by the court. He explained that 7,396 victims acted as civil parties and sought reparations for crimes committed during Hissein Habre rule in Tchad. In July 2016, the trial chamber of the EAC dismissed collective reparations asked by civil parties and did not address the issue of reparation enforcement through the creation of a Trust Fund. However, the appeal chamber of the court rendered a more promising decision in April 2017. It awarded 82 billion CFA Francs (around 123 million Euros) to civil parties and ruled that a Trust Fund should enforce individual reparations.

However, no reparation has been implemented to date. Nader Diab exposed how the failure to set up a proper reparation scheme at the beginning of the court proceedings jeopardised the possibility of making reparations. In particular, he highlighted that asset tracing and recovery from the accused should be initiated in the early days. In this case, most of Hissène Habré fortune has gone missing because of a late asset recovery, reducing the amount of money that could be allocated to reparations. Most importantly, he pointed out that the Trust Fund has not come to existence yet despite the adoption of its statue in January 2018 by the African Union. Nader Diab underlined that there is little hope that the Trust Fund will be created in the future, as no state is willing to establish it on its territory.

Nader Diab also detailed actions taken by REDRESS to address reparations in the EAC and ensure their proper implementation, in particular through submissions to the court. He concluded on the work undertaken by REDRESS, along with the International Federation for Huma Rights and Avocats sans Frontières, in the Central African Republic to alert drafters of the new Special Criminal Court statute about the need to tackle reparations at the outset.