The central African state of Chad emerged from three decades of civil war in 1990 with the overthrow of President Hissène Habré by Libyan-backed Idriss Déby. The country was placed at the top of the Fund for Peace 2014 “high alert” ranking of fragile (failed) states, and sixth in the organization’s overall ranking of states at risk.
The Chad Truth Commission estimated that the Habré government was responsible for more than 40,000 political killings during eight years in power. Many of the victims are still missing.
In January 2000, supported by Human Rights Watch, 31 Chadians filed a criminal complaint against Habré in a court in Senegal, where the former dictator had been living since his overthrow. The victims presented details of 97 killings, 142 cases of torture, 100 enforced disappearances, and 736 arbitrary arrests.
Under pressure from the UN, the International Court of Justice, families of victims and human rights groups, Habré was finally arrested in Senegal in June 2013. The following month he was charged with crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes.
In 2013 a team of four Senegalese judges visited Chad to investigate charges against Habré filed by a special Senegalese court established to try the former dictator. The trial of Habré was expected to begin before the end of 2014. Thus far, no material reparations have been granted to the thousands of citizens affected by human rights violations during the Habré regime, and members of the regime have continued to hold influential positions in the government and administration of President Déby.