We the representatives of non-governmental organizations attending the Forum on the participation of NGOs in the 39th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, held from 6 to 8 May, 2006 in Banjul, the Gambia,
Considering the relevant provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, particularly article 4(o) by which African states undertake to respect the sanctity of human life, condemn and to reject impunity on the African continent;
Considering the relevant provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, particularly articles 4, 5, 6 and 7(1);
Referring to the resolution adopted by the 38th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, on the 5th of December 2005 in Banjul, The Gambia urging “Member States of the African Union to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes under international human rights law and international humanitarian law should not benefit from impunity” and also to the decision of the Conference of Heads of State and Government, in Khartoum in January 2006 in Khartoum, Sudan, reiterating their commitment to fighting against impunity;
Welcoming the surrendering of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia by the Nigeria government for him to be brought to justice before the special court for Sierra Leone;
Noting that the problem of impunity in Africa is one which requires a comprehensive and consistent approach, if the problem is to be fully addressed.
Recalling the widespread suffering that the Chadian people endured during the presidency of Hissène Habré between 1982 and 1990, during which serious human rights violations , including killings , torture and extra judicial execution took place.
Noting further that the victims of these violations are yet to received any has not received any redress, several years after Hissène Habré have been forced to vacate power.
Considering the report of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Chadian government, which determined in 1992 that the government during the presidency of Hissène Habré was responsible for the “disappearance,” torture, and execution of thousands of individuals in Chad;
Recalling that Hissène Habré has been living in Senegal since 1990 when he was forced to leave power.
Considering further that the Republic of Senegal is a party to the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nation Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatments and Punishments.
Recalling further that Hissène Habré was indicted on the 3 February 2000 by the Dakar Regional Court for “crimes against humanity, acts of torture and barbarity,” before the Senegalese courts ruled that they did not have jurisdiction to try acts of torture committed by a foreigner outside of its territory;
Recalling further that only after the Dakar Court of Appeals decided in July 2000 that Senegalese courts had no jurisdiction over these crimes did victims seek justice in other countries, including Chad and Belgium;
Recalling further that, following the complaints that were filed against Hissène Habré in Belgium, the Belgian investigating judge indicted Hissène Habré on 19 September 2005 for crimes against humanity, acts of torture, and war crimes, and that the Belgian authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for the former Chadian president;
Noting that the government of Senegal regarded the decision of the Dakar Court of Appeals that it had no jurisdiction to rule on the extradition request as drawing to a close the case in Senegal, and requested that the African Union “indicate the jurisdiction which is competent to try this matter”;
Noting further that the Assembly of the AU during its Summit in January 2006 in Khartoum decided to create a Committee of Eminent African Jurists to examine “the available options” for trying Hissène Habré and to submit its conclusions at the next Summit of the African Union in July 2006 in Banjul, The Gambia;
Noting further that the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by Senegal, imposes an obligation on states parties to prosecute or extradite those present in its territory alleged to have committed acts of torture;
Call upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to adopt a resolution;
Calling on the government of Senegal, in conformity with its international obligations under the terms of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to ensure that Hissène Habré will either be prosecuted or extradited so that he can respond to the charges against him in a fair trial and gives justice to the victims.
Calls on the African Union to ensure that the victims, as well as their families and representatives, are heard and that their views are carefully considered;
Calls on the African Union and the Senegalese government to ensure that Hissène Habré is tried within a reasonable time, and in accordance with the fundamental principles of fair trail and international justice that should be respected by all states.
Done in Banjul, 08 May, 2006