Atrocities from Chadian Dictator Still Haunt Victims; No Sign of Closure as of Yet

By Kevin Sood


         May 30, 2021 Chadian courts are still at a standstill to pay the victims of the brutal regime of the former Chadian dictator, Hissene Habre. In May of 2016, the African Union backed Extraordinary African Champers, or the EAC in Senegal, tried and convicted Habre on human rights charges. The case set precedent throughout the African Union as it was the first time a former head of state in one country was tried and convicted in the courts of another country.

         Hissene Habare, like most dictators of his caliber, has the same humble beginnings like his compatriots during the US –Soviet lead rivalry of the Cold War. Habare came to power in 1982 in the midst of a bloody civil war when a power sharing agreement between the national government and one of the nation’s leading generals fell apart. In an effort to thwart Libyan ambitions in the region, the US and France threw their full weight behind Habare, supplying him with paramilitary training, and then using Chad to run clandestine operations out of against Lybia. The strong US and French presence in the region; nonetheless, enabled Habare to rule Chad with an iron fist.

         Habare established a secret police called the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS) who soon thereafter clandestinely kidnapped and then systematically tortured, raped and murdered his opponents. Estimates of casualties from Habare’s reign of terror are predicted to be around 40,000, but an exact number of the mass casualties are still unknown.

         Yet even now, the scars of Habare’s reign of terror still haunt Chadians even till this day. Habare’s brutality at times even included such atrocities as human trafficking and sexual slavery. Victims of the Habare reign have still not seen a dime of compensations estimated to be a total of 150 million dollars from the court ordered estimation.

         Jacueline Moudeine, lawyer of the French bar, advocating on behalf of 4000 victims, has stated that 100 of her clients of Habare’s brutality have died since the EAC decision. Moudeine stated for the record that “time is running out. We cannot wait years and years for these reparations. More than 100 victims have died since the decision of the EAC and will never see reparations. The Chadian government and the African Union must act now by making it imperative to include compensation for victims in their priority programs.”

         Yet still to this day Habare lounges around in the Senegalese, Prison du Cap Manuel. Supporters of Habare have advocated for his early release since his imprisonment in 2016. In August of 2020, Habare was granted a temporary 60 day moratorium from his prison sentence due to COVID-19 related health issues. In April of 2021, Harabe’s legal team put forward a temporary 6 month release from his prison sentence which was then denied by the Senegalese government.

         Examples such as Harabe’s demonstrate the failed policies of the Western Allies to meddle in areas during the zero-sum game politics of the Cold War. Dictators such has Harabe only served to divide their populations which leave everlasting scars for generations to come. 

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