- An estimated CFA 18 billion is needed for the trial of the former Chadian President, Hissène Habré, Senegal's Justice Minister disclosed.
Madické Niang, who chaired a meeting on the preparations of the Habré trial, said "it is even possible for the budget to increase."
The former Coordinator of Habré’s legal team said Senegal has finished putting in place all the necessary legal guarantees for the long-awaited trial to start.
He said the appointment of a Coordinator forms part of Senegalese government's preparedness to kick-start the trial. Justice Minister added apart from the establishment of a monitoring and communication committee, the beginning of next month will see the appointment of "three to four judges."
Mr Niang expressed Senegal's "commitment to ensure that the trial is conducted in a just and fair manner."
He said the inclusion of CFA 1 billion in Senegal's current budget to cover the initil trial expenses clearly spells the country's commitment to move ahead with the case.
Mr Niany was responding to a statement by a coalition of human rights organisations, accusing the West African country of "flouting the United Nations decision to prosecute or extradite" the former Chadian dictator charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture during his ten-year rule.
"We have been fighting for 18 years to bring Hissène Habré to justice, and time is running out. Unless Senegal takes action soon, there won’t be any victims left at the trial," said Souleymane Guengueng, founder of the Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime (AVCRP), and the lead petitioner in the case that led to the UN ruling.
"Senegal has mocked us for eight years and now it is mocking the United Nations."
Secretary General of the Dakar-based African Assembly for the Defense of Human Rights, Alioune Tine said "Senegal's political will is missing" because "money is not lacking."
"Nothing prevents Senegal from opening an investigation right away, which would be the best way to dispel the victims’ legitimate concerns," Mr Tine said.
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