DAKAR, Senegal — A court in Senegal will rule in April on an appeal of the life sentence conviction of former Chad president Hissene Habre for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, the head of the court said Thursday, leading to the final step in a landmark trial pursued by victims for over 15 years.
The trial against Habre began in July 2015 and was the first in which courts of one country prosecuted the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes.
The Extraordinary African Chambers, created by the African Union and Senegal to try Habre, found him guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment in May for crimes committed during his presidency from 1982-1990. The court later ordered him to pay tens of millions of dollars in compensation to victims.
Head appeal Judge Ougadeye Wafi said Thursday a verdict would be given April 27. The appeal hearing began Monday, and the court’s mandate ends in April.
Court-appointed lawyers appealed Habre’s conviction by arguing it was based on errors of fact and law. The appeals chamber already rejected an appeal by Habre’s court-appointed lawyers that a trial judge should not have served on the chambers because of his background as a prosecutor.
Lawyers for his alleged victims have also appealed, calling for the creation of a trust fund and changes to reparation requirements. Habre has been ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation to the victims.
A 1992 Chadian Truth Commission accused Habre’s government of systematic torture, saying 40,000 people died during his rule.