Tuesday, September 4, 2012

60. The Dictator Hunter (2007)

Hissene Habré ruled Chad between 1982-1990.  He is accused of committing serious crimes during his time in Office, including torture and the massacre of 40,000 people.  According to Reed Brody, the star of the documentary and 'dictator hunter', the Chadian victims contacted Human Rights Watch (HRW) in order to hold Habré accountable.  The precedent established in the Pinochet case resulted in HRW filing charges  on behalf of the victims against Habré in Senegal in 2000.  However, Senegal stalled the case against Habré and therefore, Brody filed a case in Belgium under the principle of universal jurisdiction.  Belgium subsequently applied to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) requesting the Court to order Senegal to prosecute him immediately or to extradite.  

The film follows Brody around Senegal, his home in the United States, and Belgium.  It shows him rejecting job offers from Louise Arbour and talking to victims of Habré.  The film also includes interviews with Habré's lawyer in Senegal.  

In Questions Relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v Senegal) decided by the ICJ this year, the Court found that under Convention against Torture and the Genocide Conviction, there is a common interest to comply with the conventions and that 'extradition and prosecution are alternative ways to combat impunity'. The Court consequently found Senegal in breach of two provisions of the CAT.  The ICJ stated that Senegal “must, without further delay, submit the case of Mr. Hissène Habré to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution, if it does not extradite him.”  For a more detailed discussion of the judgment see Johanna Harrington's blog post on EJIL talk here.

You can see Reed Brody's wanted list here: 9 former autocrats and bad guys that should be made to pay for there crimes.  The film provides an interesting background to the ICJ case and current attempts to prosecute.  The search for accountability continues. 

No comments:

Post a Comment