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UN: Arrest of Former Chad President for War Crimes

UN Human Rights Expert Welcomes Arrest of Former Chad President for War Crimes

An independent United Nations human rights expert has welcomed the arrest earlier this week in Senegal of former Chadian President Hissène Habré and called for his extradition to Belgium, where he has been indicted for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture.

The Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, called on the Senegalese Government to extradite Mr. Habré to Belgium as soon as possible.

In 2001, the Senegalese appeals court ruled that crimes committed abroad did not come within the competence of national tribunals, but Mr. Nowak said in a statement yesterday that the prohibition against torture is absolute and universal.

In September Belgium officially requested the extradition of Mr. Habré, who has been living in Senegal, and he was arrested on Tuesday.

Among the Belgian charges against him are the alleged murders, disappearances and torture of political opponents.

Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who receive their mandate from the Commission and report back to it.

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