Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Senegal’s Disciplinary Regulations (1990) provides that it is prohibited to “convict persons without a previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted tribunal affording judicial guarantees provided by law”.
Senegal’s IHL Manual (1999) restates common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
Senegal’s Penal Code (1965), as amended in 2007, states:
[a)] Any of the following acts constitutes a war crime if it concerns members of the armed forces, the wounded, sick or shipwrecked, prisoners of war or civilians or objects protected by the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949:
5. depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial.
Senegal’s Law Authorizing Ratification of the 2012 Agreement on the Establishment of the African Extraordinary Chambers (2012) states:
Desiring to fully demonstrate the respect it has consistently shown for its international commitments since independence, Senegal has undertaken to organize the trial of crimes and serious violations of international law committed on the territory of Chad during the period 7 June 1982 to 1 December 1990.
In order to assemble the right conditions for organizing the trial, and taking into account the decision on this matter of the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] Court of Justice on 18 November 2010, the Government of the Republic of Senegal and the African Union signed an Agreement in Dakar on 22 August 2012 concerning the creation of the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese court system.
This legal instrument should enable our country to tangibly honour our international commitments by facilitating the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators of the aforementioned violations, within the framework of a just and fair trial, taking duly into account the concerns of victims, with strict respect for the right of defence, in accordance with relevant international requirements.
The Government is therefore committed, within the framework of this Agreement, to adopt the necessary laws, regulations and administrative measures for the purpose of putting in place the aforementioned judicial institutions.
In 2011, in its third periodic report to the Committee against Torture, Senegal stated:
120. As mentioned above, the only known case concerning an alleged perpetrator of acts of torture residing in Senegalese territory is the case of Hissène Habré, former President of the Republic of Chad. In this case, the State of Senegal has undertaken, in conformity with the mandate entrusted to it by the African Union, to conduct a trial, to be heard by Senegalese judges, in compliance with the universally recognized fundamental legal principle of a just and fair trial. To make the trial possible, the State of Senegal has made important amendments to its constitutional and legal provisions, set up bodies to organize the trial, appointed an expert accounting and auditing body in order to draft the provisional budget, and included in its 2008 budget the amount of CFAF 1 billion for the purpose of beginning the investigation. Nevertheless, the organization of such a trial, which must be “flawless and exemplary”, requires the mobilization of exceptional resources. A contribution by the international community will be required. Further developments in the Habré case are detailed below.
251. … Senegal referred the case to the African Union, which, on 2 July 2006, pursuant to the recommendations of a committee of eminent African jurists appointed in January 2006, requested Senegal to try Mr. Hissène Habré on behalf of Africa.
252. The request of the African Union was set forth in its decision 127(VII) (Doc.Assembly/AU/3), which states that it:
- “Consider[ed] the Hissène Habré case as falling within the competence of the African Union
- Mandates the Republic of Senegal to prosecute and ensure that Mr. Hissène Habré is tried, on behalf of Africa, by a competent Senegalese court with guarantees for [a] fair trial
269. All the necessary substantive and procedural legislative amendments have now been made to … ensure that Mr. Hissène Habré can have a just, fair and speedy trial in Senegalese courts presided over by Senegalese judges.
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