Rwanda to host trial of former Chadian leader

Contrary to media reports that Rwanda proposed the prosecution of embattled former Chad president, Hissène Habré, it is the African Union (AU), which instead requested the former to come in after Senegal declined, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, told The New Times on Sunday “The fact is that Rwanda has never requested to try the former president of Chad, Hissène Habré, who has been detained, waiting for trial, in Senegal,” Karugarama said.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama has clarified Rwanda's position on the trial of former Chadian President. The New Times File.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama has clarified Rwanda's position on the trial of former Chadian President. The New Times File.

Contrary to media reports that Rwanda proposed the prosecution of embattled former Chad president, Hissène Habré, it is the African Union (AU), which instead requested the former to come in after Senegal declined, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, told The New Times on Sunday

“The fact is that Rwanda has never requested to try the former president of Chad, Hissène Habré, who has been detained, waiting for trial, in Senegal,” Karugarama said.

The Minister explained that about two months ago, the AU “in its wisdom and in its analysis,” requested Rwanda, if it could lend a hand in the trial.

He added that the government gave the answer in the affirmative, “on the basis that if there is anything Rwanda can do to advance the cause of international justice and the cause of international peace and security, then we are prepared to do it.”

Karugarama reiterated that the country has the capacity and willingness to be of assistance, as long as it advances the cause of international justice, peace and security.

Some countries in the European Union, including Belgium, have requested Senegal to prosecute the former Chadian president on their own soil, but reports indicate that the AU is against such an arrangement.

Karugarama noted that “the general consensus is that Hissène Habré should be tried on the African continent.”

Logistical matters – including when and how Habré is brought to Rwanda – will be decided upon, by the AU, once a final decision is made on where the trial would be held.

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