Ex-Chad leader Habre faces war crimes charge: prosecutor

DAKAR Mon Jul 1, 2013 4:05pm EDT

Former Chad President Hissene Habre makes declarations to media as he leaves a court in Dakar, Senegal November 25, 2005. REUTERS/Aliou Mbaye

Former Chad President Hissene Habre makes declarations to media as he leaves a court in Dakar, Senegal November 25, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Aliou Mbaye

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DAKAR (Reuters) - Chad's former president Hissene Habre will be charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture at a special court in Senegal, a legal official said on Monday, a day after the ex-leader's arrest.

Habre, 71, was detained in Senegal where he has been living in exile for 22 years since he was overthrown in a coup.

Human rights groups hold him responsible for the torture or killing up to 40,000 people during the eight years he led Chad, a poor, oil-rich central African state.

Senegal, under pressure from the International Court of Justice and campaign groups, set up the special court this year to look into the allegations.

"After a comprehensive study of the issue, we have retained three charges namely crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of torture," the court's attorney general, Mbacke Fall, told journalists.

Fall said the crimes were alleged to have taken place during Habre's rule, especially during a conflict with neighboring Libya.

"Widespread systematic attacks were ordered against civilian populations. In this context, what followed was torture and detention followed by summary executions suffered by prisoners and political detainees," Fall said.

Habre, who led Chad between 1982 and 1990, will be brought before court's judges on Tuesday for the confirmation of charges, he added.

(Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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