Former Chad strongman, serving life for war crimes, dies from Covid-19

Hissène Habré, the former dictator of Chad and security ally of the West during the Cold War died while serving a life sentence in Senegal. He was 79. Habre's 1982-90 rule, which began with a coup, saw widespread killings by his infamous political police who rounded up suspects and held them in secret detention centres. In eight years, tens of thousands were raped, tortured and killed. Henri Thulliez, Attorney and former Coordinator at HRW for the Hissène Habré case, offers some in-depth perspective on Habré's brutal rein, reminding us that France and the United States were stalwart supporters from the very beginning. 'France, and other countries, such as the United States helped Hissène Habré to take power (in a coup) and helped him to keep power because they saw him as a bulwark against (Muammar) Gaddafi and Libya. They knew about the crimes that were being committed. They knew about the violations. And yet they continued to assist him.' Speaking to France 24, Mr. Thulliez laments that 'unfortunately today neither France nor the United States have conducted impartial investigations in their own countries to try to understand who did what, and how democratic countries helped him to keep power.' Mr. Thulliez insists that 'its important to look at the past to better see how we can change things in the present.'