The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today welcomed the "historic" verdict of the special court in Senegal convicting the former President of Chad Hissène Habré of crimes against humanity, summary executions, torture and rape.
“After years of struggle and many setbacks on the way to justice, this verdict is as historic as it was hard-won. I sincerely hope that today, at last, Habré's victims will experience some sense of relief,” Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.
He went on to say that “in a world scarred by a constant stream of atrocities,” the ramifications of this verdict are global. Indeed, while the verdict may be appealed, Mr. Zeid said it sends a clear message to those responsible for serious human rights violations around the world that no one is above the law and that, one day, they may also face justice for their crimes.
“Following earlier convictions by other courts of former president Charles Taylor and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the conviction and sentencing of Hissène Habré shows that even heads of State and other leaders who commit terrible crimes will ultimately be held to account,” he stressed.
Commending the ground-breaking agreement between Senegal and the African Union which enabled this case to proceed, Mr. Zeid said this was an excellent example of regional leadership and ownership in the fight against impunity for international crimes.
“My Office, which has actively supported accountability efforts in Senegal and Chad over the past few years, and has followed the Habré trial, will continue to offer its support to the quest for justice by victims of human rights violations all over the world,” He underscored.