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Hissene Habre, Ex-President of Chad Jailed for War Crimes, Dies at 79
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Dave P.
2021-09-01 08:22:56 UTC
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Hissene Habre, Ex-President of Chad Jailed for War Crimes,
Dies at 79
By Maclean & Camara, 8/24/21, NY Times

He was not in prison at his death, however. He had spent
10 days in a nearby clinic receiving treatment for compli-
cations of diabetes & high blood pressure. Some outlets
reported that he had been infected with the coronavirus.

Habre was the first former head of state to be convicted
of crimes against humanity by another country’s courts.

A former defense minister, he took power in 1982 in a coup
backed by the US, & once in office he received weapons &
assistance from France, Israel & the US to keep Libya,
Chad’s northern neighbor, at bay.

His rule was violent from the start. POW's & political
opponents were killed. But the Reagan admin kept supplying
him with weapons to keep up the fight against Libya,
led by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

A Chadian truth commission found that Habre’s govt had
killed more than 40,000 people believed to be enemies of
the state, incl. those who had merely come under suspicion.

Habre lost power in 1990 the way he had taken it, in a
coup. He then fled to Senegal, taking $12 million from the
national bank accounts with him. For years he lived quietly
in coastal Dakar, the country’s capital, buying properties
there & remaining untroubled by the govt of Abdoulaye Wade,
which kept delaying his prosecution.

It was the govt of Wade’s successor, President Macky Sall,
that tried him, setting up a special court with the African
Union to do so — the Extraordinary African Chambers.

On the first day of his trial, Habre was dragged into the
courtroom kicking & shouting insults at the judge. “Down
with colonialism!” he said. Afterward he sat through the
testimony of dozens of his victims, hiding his face behind
a large white turban and sunglasses.

When he was convicted, those victims rejoiced, punched the
air, cried & ululated in the court. They had fought for
justice for decades.

But 5 years later, nearly 8,000 victims are still waiting
for $150 million in compensation they were jointly awarded.

“Since the trial, 5 years have passed. Nothing has been
done,” said Clement Abaifouta, president of the Assn of
Victims of the Crimes of the Habre Regime. “The court of
Dakar has not seized his property. The African Union, which
is handling the case, does nothing. Up until now, Habre
has not paid a single cent. Nothing.”

Abaifouta was arrested as a young student & spent 4 years
in one of Habre’s notorious prisons, an experience that
ruined his life, he said. He was forced to dig the graves
of his friends & cellmates, many of whom died because the
prison conditions were so bad. Abaifouta said that Habre’s
death would bring no relief to his victims, because many
former subordinates had not faced justice and still
permeated Chad’s government.

“Now, in Chad, you have governors, you have brigade
commanders, commissioners, presidential advisers, all of
whom worked with Habre,” he said. “So the victims are still
scared, even if Habre is no longer there. They’re
everywhere, these people.”

The imprisonment, killings & torture carried out by Habre’s
secret police, the Directorate of Documentation & Security,
became widely known, thanks in part to the meticulous
documentation of victim testimonies by Souleymane Guengueng,
a survivor who had almost died in jail. Guengueng promised
himself that if he ever got out, he would bring his
torturers to justice — and eventually, he did.

Reed Brody, who has worked with Habre’s victims for over
two decades, said the former president would “go down in
history as one of the world’s most pitiless dictators, a
man who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain
power, who burned down entire villages, sent women to
serve as sexual slaves for his troops & built clandestine
dungeons to inflict medieval torture on his enemies.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/24/world/africa/hissene-habre-dead.html
Topic Cop
2021-09-01 09:52:37 UTC
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Post by Dave P.
Hissene Habre, Ex-President of Chad Jailed for War Crimes,
Dies at 79
By Maclean & Camara, 8/24/21, NY Times
He was not in prison at his death, however. He had spent
10 days in a nearby clinic receiving treatment for compli-
cations of diabetes & high blood pressure. Some outlets
reported that he had been infected with the coronavirus.
Habre was the first former head of state to be convicted
of crimes against humanity by another country’s courts.
A former defense minister, he took power in 1982 in a coup
backed by the US, & once in office he received weapons &
assistance from France, Israel & the US to keep Libya,
Chad’s northern neighbor, at bay.
His rule was violent from the start. POW's & political
opponents were killed. But the Reagan admin kept supplying
him with weapons to keep up the fight against Libya,
led by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
A Chadian truth commission found that Habre’s govt had
killed more than 40,000 people believed to be enemies of
the state, incl. those who had merely come under suspicion.
Habre lost power in 1990 the way he had taken it, in a
coup. He then fled to Senegal, taking $12 million from the
national bank accounts with him. For years he lived quietly
in coastal Dakar, the country’s capital, buying properties
there & remaining untroubled by the govt of Abdoulaye Wade,
which kept delaying his prosecution.
It was the govt of Wade’s successor, President Macky Sall,
that tried him, setting up a special court with the African
Union to do so — the Extraordinary African Chambers.
On the first day of his trial, Habre was dragged into the
courtroom kicking & shouting insults at the judge. “Down
with colonialism!” he said. Afterward he sat through the
testimony of dozens of his victims, hiding his face behind
a large white turban and sunglasses.
When he was convicted, those victims rejoiced, punched the
air, cried & ululated in the court. They had fought for
justice for decades.
But 5 years later, nearly 8,000 victims are still waiting
for $150 million in compensation they were jointly awarded.
“Since the trial, 5 years have passed. Nothing has been
done,” said Clement Abaifouta, president of the Assn of
Victims of the Crimes of the Habre Regime. “The court of
Dakar has not seized his property. The African Union, which
is handling the case, does nothing. Up until now, Habre
has not paid a single cent. Nothing.”
Abaifouta was arrested as a young student & spent 4 years
in one of Habre’s notorious prisons, an experience that
ruined his life, he said. He was forced to dig the graves
of his friends & cellmates, many of whom died because the
prison conditions were so bad. Abaifouta said that Habre’s
death would bring no relief to his victims, because many
former subordinates had not faced justice and still
permeated Chad’s government.
“Now, in Chad, you have governors, you have brigade
commanders, commissioners, presidential advisers, all of
whom worked with Habre,” he said. “So the victims are still
scared, even if Habre is no longer there. They’re
everywhere, these people.”
The imprisonment, killings & torture carried out by Habre’s
secret police, the Directorate of Documentation & Security,
became widely known, thanks in part to the meticulous
documentation of victim testimonies by Souleymane Guengueng,
a survivor who had almost died in jail. Guengueng promised
himself that if he ever got out, he would bring his
torturers to justice — and eventually, he did.
Reed Brody, who has worked with Habre’s victims for over
two decades, said the former president would “go down in
history as one of the world’s most pitiless dictators, a
man who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain
power, who burned down entire villages, sent women to
serve as sexual slaves for his troops & built clandestine
dungeons to inflict medieval torture on his enemies.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/24/world/africa/hissene-habre-dead.html
only 40,000?

no wonder no one's heard of the guy
radioacti...@gmail.com
2021-09-02 05:02:10 UTC
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Well, I think most of us who follow international news had HEARD of him, but found him indistinguishable from the many other post-colonial strongmen who have infested African politics while tormenting their respective impoverished populations in the post-war era.

Habre was another one of these local tyrants whom the State Department rightly (or wrongly, in some famous cases) decided were worth bulwarking because larger geopolitical interests were deemed at stake. For the most part, I think the Reagan administration policies under the late (centenarian!) George Schultz were mostly useful toward stabilizing the planet politically while tightening the economic--read arms race--constraints around the Soviet Union. And the fact that the USSR disintegrated without a shot being fired is powerful testimony that Reagan is rightfully credited with winning the Cold War (with a rather cold peace, granted, but better than a thermonuclear-hot peace, no?)

As for this late dictator Habre, he got his, though hardly as brutally as he made sure his critics did, and only years tardily.

Meanwhile, does anyone know if Chad has even $100 of (non-diplomatic) tourism business per annum?

BRYAN STYBLE/Florida
radioacti...@gmail.com
2021-09-02 05:13:12 UTC
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ADDENDUM:

I was historically quite remiss in not co-crediting Margaret Thatcher's (mostly) overt and John Paul II's (mostly) covert contributions to the West's united front via-a-vis the USSR.

STYBLE/Florida
Dave P.
2021-09-04 19:40:18 UTC
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Post by ***@gmail.com
Meanwhile, does anyone know if Chad has even $100 of (non-diplomatic) tourism business per annum?
-------------
The UN's Human Development Index ranks Chad as the 7th poorest
country in the world, with 80% of the population living below
the poverty line. The GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita
was estimated as US$1,651 in 2009.

In the 60s, the mining industry of Chad produced sodium
carbonate, or natron. There have also been reports of gold-
bearing quartz in the Biltine Prefecture. However, years of
civil war have scared away foreign investors; those who left
Chad between 1979-82 have only recently begun to regain
confidence in the country's future. In 2000 major direct
foreign investment in the oil sector began, boosting the
country's economic prospects.

Uneven inclusion in the global political economy as a site
for colonial resource extraction (primarily cotton & crude oil),
a global economic system that doesn't promote nor encourage
the development of Chadian industrialization, & the failure
to support local AG production has meant that the majority
of Chadians live in daily uncertainty & hunger. Over 80% of
Chad's population relies on subsistence farming & livestock
raising for its livelihood. The crops grown & the locations
of herds are determined by the local climate. In the southern-
most 10% of the territory lies the nation's most fertile
cropland, with rich yields of sorghum & millet. In the Sahel
only the hardier varieties of millet grow, & with much lower
yields than in the south. OTOH, the Sahel is ideal pastureland
for large herds of commercial cattle & for goats, sheep,
donkeys & horses. The Sahara's scattered oases support only
some dates & legumes. Chad's cities face serious difficulties
of municipal infrastructure; only 48% of urban residents have
access to potable water & only 2% to basic sanitation.

Before the development of oil industry, cotton dominated
industry & the labor market accounted for approx. 80% of
export earnings. Cotton remains a primary export, although
exact figures are not available. Rehabilitation of Cotontchad,
a major cotton company weakened by a decline in world cotton
prices, has been financed by France, the Netherlands, the EU,
& the Int'l Bank for Reconstruction & Development (IBRD).
The parastatal is now expected to be privatised. Other than
cotton, cattle & gum arabic are dominant.

Acc. to the UN, Chad has been affected by a humanitarian
crisis since at least 2001. As of 2008, the country of Chad
hosts over 280,000 refugees from the Sudan's Darfur region,
over 55,000 from the Central African Republic, as well as
over 170,000 internally displaced persons. In Feb 2008 in
the aftermath of the Battle of N'Djamena, UN Under-Secretary-
General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes expressed
"extreme concern" that the crisis would have a negative
effect on the ability of humanitarians to deliver life-saving
assistance to half a million beneficiaries, most of whom –
acc. to him – heavily rely on humanitarian aid for their
survival. UN spokesperson Maurizio Giuliano stated to The
Washington Post: "If we do not manage to provide aid at
sufficient levels, the humanitarian crisis might become a
humanitarian catastrophe". In addition, organizations such as
Save the Children have suspended activities due to killings
of aid workers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chad#Economy

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