A Senegalese court on Tuesday adjourned the trial of former Chadian dictator Hissène Habre on charges of crimes against humanity until September 7 to allow defence lawyers to prepare their case.
Habré's trial, which opened in Dakar on Monday, marks the first time in Africa’s history that a court from one country has tried the former ruler of another for crimes against humanity.
It caps a 15-year battle by victims and rights campaigners to bring the former dictator to justice in Senegal, where he fled after being toppled in a 1990 coup.
Habré, backed by Washington as a bulwark against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in the 1980s, is blamed by rights groups for widespread torture and the killing of up to 40,000 people during the eight years he ruled Chad.
The former Chadian dictator has refused legal representation, saying he does not recognise the court's jurisdiction and vowing not to cooperate with the trial.
The court decided to appoint three lawyers to assist him and adjourned the trial to give them time to prepare their defence.
Habré then rose and gave a clenched-fist salute and V-for-victory sign to his supporters, who shouted "Allah akbar" (God is greatest).
The former president, 72, has been in custody in Dakar since his arrest in June 2013 at the home he shared in an affluent suburb of the Senegalese capital with his wife and children.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2015-07-21