Judicial Cooperation Arc of Diplomatıc Relations Between Chad and Senegal
Relations between Senegal and Chad date back to the 1960s. Both former French colonies that became independent in 1960 have developed multidimensional relations that have their roots in their shared colonial past. Chadian soldiers fought alongside their Senegalese counterparts to save France during the Second World War, and some of them were among the victims of Thiaroye 44. But the modern history between the two countries was especially marked by the exile of Hissène Habré, former president of Chad from 1982 to 1990. In addition to the various areas of cooperation developed between the two countries since then, judicial cooperation has been one of the main focuses of relations between Chad and Senegal. This article reviews this aspect of diplomatic relations between Ndjamena and Dakar, as well as the main memoranda of understanding signed between the two countries in various areas.
Judicial Cooperation Between Chad and Senegal
In 1990, Hissene Habré fled Chad and then Cameroon, under threat from Idriss Deby's troops, before obtaining political asylum in Senegal. The former head of state was then the subject of serious accusations: a commission of inquiry into "crimes and embezzlement" stated in 1992 that Habré's regime had killed more than 40,000 victims among his opponents, who were arrested and tortured by the Documentation and Security Directorate. In January 2000, a judicial investigation was opened in Dakar against Habré for "crimes against humanity and acts of torture" after Chadians and NGOs filed a complaint, inspired by the "Pinochet affair", the arrest in London in 1998 of the former Chilean dictator, in the name of the principle of "universal jurisdiction". This led to Habré being charged with “complicity in acts of torture”. In 2005, Belgium also issued an international arrest warrant against Habré for "serious violations of international humanitarian law" and an extradition request. Under President Abdoulaye Wade, the process had difficulty succeeding, even though Senegal had been mandated by the African Union since 2006 to try Habré. In 2012, when Macky Sall came to power, he announced that Hissène Habré would be tried in Dakar. In August of the same year, Senegal and the AU signed an agreement, ratified in December by Parliament, to create four "Extraordinary African Chambers" (EACs): two for the investigation and prosecution, an assize court, and an appeal court. On May 3, 2013, the Republic of Chad and the Republic of Senegal signed an Agreement on Judicial Cooperation for the Prosecution of International Crimes committed in Chad during the period from June 7, 1982, to December 1, 1990. The agreement includes, among other things: the notification of judicial decisions; the receipt of testimonies and statements of persons; the summoning of witnesses and experts for the purpose of giving testimony; the summoning of witnesses and experts for the purpose of giving testimony; and the handing over of documents, reports, information, and evidence. This agreement allowed Senegal and the Extraordinary African Chambers to effectively launch the indictment and trial of Hissène Habré. On June 30, 2013, Hissène Habré was taken into custody in Dakar and two days later, charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture, along with five other officials responsible for the repression under his regime, by EAC judges, who placed him in pretrial detention.
After nearly two years of investigation, Hussein Habré was referred to the CAE Court of Assize, tried and sentenced in 2016 to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, rape, executions, slavery and kidnapping. He died in Dakar in 2021 after contracting Covid-19. This trial was a major step in the fight to end impunity for heads of state in Africa.
Other fields of cooperation
The two countries have a very important relationship in the area of education and training. Several Chadian executives and students have been trained in Senegal and a good number of them at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. There are about 2500 students of Chadian origin in Senegal. "Cooperation in the field of Higher Education and Research has intensified between the two parties, materialized by a Cooperation Agreement signed on March 07, 2014 in Dakar, exchanges of researchers, teachers and professors have multiplied," explains the Chadian consul in Senegal .
The two countries are also strengthening their cooperation in other areas. In the digital field, for example, where Senegal has made significant progress, the two countries are committed to working together. In 2016, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries paving the way for the Chad Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (ADETIC) to draw inspiration from the Senegalese State IT Agency (ADIE) in order to implement the Chadian State's IT policy. This agreement includes the elaboration of the strategic development plan of ADETIC, the harmonization and modernization of the websites of the Chadian administrative structures, the study and the implementation of a resource center for ADETIC, the implementation of communication services for the State of Chad (government messaging, hosting, mail management, web portals, etc.) and the implementation of tele-procedures and an administrative intranet network covering all of Chad. Also in January 2023, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding in the urban planning, land use and housing sector.
In sum, relations between Senegal and Chad continue to be fraternal. President Mahamat Idriss did not hesitate to ask for Senegal's help in the transition process during a visit by Macky Sall to Njamena in 2022. He noted that Chad can count on the support of the country of Teranga, "which has always contributed to its development, particularly through the quality training provided to a large number of Chadian executives in various academic disciplines, some of whom now hold prominent positions here in this high place of the Republic.
“Accord de Coopération Judiciaire Entre Le Sénégal et Le Tchad,” 2013.
“Consul Du TCHAD || Sénégal.” Accessed May 17, 2023. http://consulatchadakar.net/#presentation.
DJOYUM, Beaugas Orain. “Informatique : le Tchad va bénéficier de l’appui du Sénégal.” Digital Business Africa (blog), March 14, 2016. https://www.digitalbusiness.africa/informatique-le-tchad-va-beneficier-de-lappui-du-senegal/.
Kum, Peter. “Le Tchad Demande l’appui Du Sénégal Pour Aller Au Bout de La Transition.” Accessed May 16, 2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/fr/afrique/le-tchad-demande-l-appui-du-sénégal-pour-aller-au-bout-de-la-transition/2662732.
Magazine, Le Point. “Tchad - Hissène Habré : les dates-clés, de l’exil au procès à Dakar.” Le Point, July 20, 2015. https://www.lepoint.fr/afrique/tchad-hissene-habre-les-dates-cles-de-l-exil-au-proces-a-dakar-20-07-2015-1949967_3826.php.