The long saga of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre is finally drawing to a close. Today Habre was convicted by the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special internationalized court set up in the courts of Senegal to try Habre and others for international crimes committed during the period of Habre's dictatorship. The court convicted him for crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes (including the commission or ordering of various acts of rape and sexual slavery). He was sentenced to life in prison. There is a 15-day appeal period.
This is a remarkable event, capping off a long campaign by a group of Habre's victims to see him brought to justice, which involved at one point a case brought by Belgium against Senegal in the International Court of Justice, in which Belgium sought to hold Senegal to its obligation under the UN Torture Convention to extradite or prosecute Habre. It is the first case brought before a domestic African court on the basis of the universal jurisdiction principle.
Read the BBC's news report here.
Read an excellent Human Rights Watch Q&A about the case here.
Read an account of one of the participating lawyers, Reed Brody of HRW, here.