Senegal court rejects Belgium's Habré extradition requestBy TAMBA JEAN-MATTHEW in Dakar | Thursday, January 12 2012 at 13:43
Senegal's Appeals Court has on a technicality rejected a request by Belgium to extradite former Chadian ex-President Hissene Habré.
Handing down its ruling following days of interrogation of the request, the court Wednesday said that there were "technicalities in the format", further arguing that there was no annex of the original application for arrest and detention by Belgium.
Belgium has sought to extradite Mr Habré after it charged him with crimes against humanity and torture during his term in power.
However analysts say the ruling leaves open the door for Belgium to lodge another request.
Reacting immediately to the ruling, Mr Habré's the legal defence team urged Senegalese and Belgian authorities to respect the decision and "judicial independence" of the court.
Senegal arrested Mr Habré in 2005 after alleged victims of the atrocities filed complaints under Belgium's universal jurisdiction law.
President Abdoulaye Wade last week said that he would respect the decision of the court and it remains unclear if he will allow another request to be lodged.
Mr Habré has said he is ready to face trial anywhere as long as he is assured of fair proceedings.
He also said that other Chadians including former presidents and warring faction leaders also needed to be put on their defence.
Mr Habré is accused of crimes against humanity including the assassination, torture and disappearance of over 40,000 people when he ruled the country between 1983 and 1990 before being toppled by incumbent President Idris Deby, who was then his defence minister.
The former Chadian leader sought exile in Dakar with his family, flying in through the country's largest airplane and carrying millions of dollars but was forced by former President Abdou Diouf to return the aircraft.
He is said to own a string of housing estates and hobnobs regularly with Senegal’s powerful Islamic leaders, particularly the "Mourides" who exercise great influence on the political leadership of the West African country with nearly 90 per cent of Muslims.
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