Senegalese human rights campaigner appointed as justice minister

DAKAR Mon Sep 2, 2013 4:30pm EDT

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DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegal's new Prime Minister Aminata Toure named a cabinet on Monday, putting a veteran human rights campaigner in the key post of justice minister, suggesting high-profile graft and rights cases were likely to remain a priority.

Toure, who was herself justice minister in the previous cabinet, named Sidiki Kaba, the former head of the International Federation of Human Rights, to her old ministerial position.

Under President Macky Sall, who won power in March 2012,the government has fast-tracked the prosecution of the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade on embezzlement charges.

Kaba will oversee the long-delayed trial of former Chadian leader Hissene Habre, accused of crimes against humanity during his 1982-1990 rule. Earlier this year, Senegal inaugurated a special tribunal to judge Habre, who has lived in Dakar since being toppled in a coup.

Amid criticism that Sall's government has not done enough to improve the lives of ordinary Senegalese, most of whom live beneath the poverty line, Toure pledged to speed up economic reforms.

"We will speed up the pace of our public development programs and reforms to enable every person in Senegal to feel the change in their daily livelihood," Toure, Senegal's second female prime minister, told reporters.

Amadou Ba, former head of the Senegalese tax office, was appointed finance minister, as the government strives to increase its revenues.

Sall fired former Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye on Sunday a little more than a year after naming the former banker to head the government.

(Reporting By Diadie Ba; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Robin Pomeroy)

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