Hissene Habre: Chad's ex-ruler ordered to pay compensation to victims

image copyrightAFP
image captionHissene Habre - who ruled Chad from 1982-90 - denied all the charges

Chad's ex-ruler Hissene Habre has been ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation to victims of his crimes against humanity.

In May, Habre was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his rule from 1982 to 1990.

A special court set up by the African Union has now ruled he must pay up the equivalent of up to $34,000 (£26,000) to each of his victims.

News agencies reported the ruling would affect more than 4,700 victims.

The $34,000 compensation figure is roughly 40 times the average annual income in Chad - $880, according to the World Bank.

Victims of sexual violence were rewarded the highest sums, with relatives of those affected receiving the lowest.

Habre was sentenced to life in prison at a landmark trial in Senegal - the first time an African Union-backed court had tried a former ruler for human rights abuses.

Throughout the nine-month trial, he refused to recognise the court's legitimacy, frequently disrupting proceedings.

The ex-president, who received strong backing from the US while in power, denied accusations that he ordered the killing of 40,000 people during his rule.

media captionMaud Jullien reports from Chad on the "remarkable" trial

His critics dubbed him "Africa's Pinochet" because of the atrocities committed during his rule.

Survivors had recounted gruesome details of the torture carried out by Habre's feared secret police.

One of the most notorious detention centres in the capital N'Djamena was a converted swimming pool.

Witnesses said victims endured electric shocks, near-asphyxia, cigarette burns and having gas squirted into their eyes.

Habre was arrested in Senegal, where he was exiled, in 2013.

A court in Belgium had issued a warrant for his arrest in 2005, claiming universal jurisdiction but, after Senegal referred the issue to the African Union, the AU asked Senegal to try Mr Habre "on behalf of Africa".

Who is Hissene Habre?

media captionWho is Hissene Habre and what exactly is he accused of?

• Born in 1942 to ethnic Toubou herders in northern Chad

• Given scholarship to study political science in France

• First came to the world's attention in 1974 when his rebels captured three European hostages to ransom for money and arms

• Seized power in 1982 allegedly with the help of the CIA

• Ousted by current President Idriss Deby in 1990

• Accused of systematically persecuting groups he distrusted

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