The Ninth Ordinary Session of the Steering Committee for the Funding of the African Extraordinary Chamber for the trial of Mr. Hissene Habre former president of Chad from 1982 until 1990, took place in Dakar, Senegal on 17 September 2015. Professor Vincent O. Nmehielle the Legal Counsel of the African Union chaired the 9th ordinary session of the Steering Committee on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The Session, which held just days after the resumption of Mr. Habre’s trial, which was postponed for 45 days to enable the lawyers appointed to defend Mr. Habre to prepare for the trial, considered the Activities and Financial Reports of the Chamber for the period of January to June 2015, issues surrounding the trial, and the third quarter report of the outreach programme on the trial, among other issues on the agenda.
Prior to the Steering Committee Meeting the African Union delegation attended a session of the hearing and held a consultative meeting with the President and the Judges of the Trial Chamber of the African Extraordinary Chambers on the progress of the trial. The African Union delegation also visited the special Prison where Mr. Habre has been detained since his arrest and indictment.
It is worth recalling that the African Extraordinary Chambers is a special mechanism set up by the African Union and the Government of the Republic of Senegal to try those alleged to be most responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Chad during the reign of president Habre from 1982 to 1990.
Following the end of the investigation stage, the African Extraordinary Chambers confirmed the charges against Mr. Habre and the trial commenced in July 2015. The trial, however, had to be adjourned for up to 45 days to enable the lawyers appointed to defend Mr. Habre to acquaint themselves with the case. The trial resumed this September.