The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin hearings on March 12 in a dispute where Belgium wants Senegal to extradite for trial former Chad dictator Hissène Habré, Senegalese Justice ministry officials have said.
The public hearings at the ICJ will extend to March 21 while a ruling could be expected a few months later, court officials said.
Sources told the Africa Review on Friday that the hearings could result in a binding legal order compelling Senegal to extradite Mr Habré to Belgium.
“If we (Justice ministry) fail to convince the ICJ that we can hold Hissène Habré’s trial here, and given the political situation we are unlikely to, then Senegal will have no option but to turn him over to Belgium,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.
He did not say how long the appeals court would take to give a final verdict on the fate of the former dictator, but said “a decision was not likely in the coming weeks”.
Belgium recently filed its fourth request seeking Mr Habré’s extradition after Senegal rebuffed earlier efforts that enjoined various international rights groups.
In January, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade promised he would hand over the ex-Chadian leader to Belgium if the appeals court ruled so.
Victims of Mr Habré’s bloody rule and groups such as Human Rights Watch, have piled pressure for 13 years for the ex-dictator to face justice.
Mr Habré, who has been living in Senegal for more than 20 years, is wanted by Belgium on charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture for acts committed during his rule, from 1982 to 1990.