Posted by paco on 05 02 2009 | 1 comment
Senegal’s President Abdoulaye Wade says that he wants to hand over former President of Chad Hissene Habre over to the the African Union (AU) to face trial for crimes against humanity. Habre is accused of killing 40,000 and torturing 200,000 during his 8-year reign, which would definitely make him an International Criminal Court (ICC) case, but for the fact that his alleged crimes were committed before the temporal jurisdiction of the ICC went into effect in July 2002 (Habre fled to Senegal after his regime collapsed in 1990). Of course, as Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch says, the AU is not a state and has no capacity to try Habre. Senegal’s President Wade says he doesn’t have the resources to create a special court and put Habre on trial, and doesn’t want to hand him over to Belgium where a court has sought his arrest based on universal jurisdiction, because he doesn’t want to see an African leader tried outside of Africa. This whole jurisdictional mess points out the value of having a permanent ICC in place. If Habre had committed his crimes after 2002, he would be in the sights of the ICC, as President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is now. Because of the circumstances, a universal jurisdiction case from a domestic national court such as the one opened in Belgium against Habre seems to be the only option, but the world of international justice will have a lot more clarity when all countries have ratified the ICC and it has universal jurisdiction based on the consensus of an international treaty, the Rome Statute.