- Fourteen alleged victims of Chadian ex-dictator Hissene Habre have filed a complaint in Senegal urging for his trial to be sped up, their lawyers have said.
Mr Habre, who is accused of torturing and killing opponents during his 1982-1990 rule, has lived in Senegal since his overthrow.
Attempts to bring Mr Habre to justice have failed several times. In a bid to push Senegal's justice system to prosecute Mr Habre, 14 victims backed by a coalition of African and international rights groups filed detailed complaints of torture with a Senegalese prosecutor in Dakar.
Human Rights Watch says it has evidence to prove that Mr Habre was involved in the day-to-day actions of secret police. He has been implicated in deaths of more than 40,000 Chadians during his rule of the country from 1982 to 1990, when he was deposed and fled to Senegal.
"We are asking Senegal finally to let us have our day in court. This is our last hope. We have been fighting for 18 years to bring Mr Habre to justice, and most of the survivors have already died," said Clement Abaifouta, president of the Chadian Association of Victims of Political Repression and Crime.
"The deposit of this complaint marks a new stage in long-term efforts to bring Chad's former dictator to justice so that he responds to the atrocities committed during his presidency," Jacqueline Moudeina, head of Chadian Association for Promotion and Defence of Human Rights said.
However, Mr Habre has said he did not know abuses were taking place under his government and denies any responsibility for them.
The complaint filed Monday by 14 Senegalese and Chadians, who all claim to be victims of Habre's regime, was "solidly grounded," she said, and based on specific tortures enacted by Chad's feared DDS political police.
The former Chadian ruler was first indicted in Senegal in 2000 but its courts ruled he could not be tried there. Senegal then rebuffed a Belgian extradition request for Habre in 2005.
In July, Senegal completed legal reforms and constitutional amendments removing the legal obstacles to a trial, but there has been debate with international donors about the 28 million euros Senegalese officials say it will cost.
Chadian court sentenced Habre and Chadian rebel leaders to death in absentia in August for their alleged roles in attempting to overthrow Chadian government in February 2008.
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