Posted 2004/6/17

Impunity for attack on Human Rights Defender in Chad

The attack on Jacqueline Moudeina occured when a demonstration, held on 23 Febuary 2004 in front of the French Embassy to denounce alleged irregularities during the Presidential elections, was reportedly violently dispersed by the police, under the orders of Mahamat Wakaye, the Chief Police Commissioner and a close colleague of former dictator Hissen Habré.

Jacqueline Moudeina was seriously wounded by a hand grenade,requiring over a year’s medical attention in France. According to reports by several witnesses, Mahamat Wakaye had given the order to his men to target Jacqueline Moudeina specifically.She was targeted because she works as a lawyer for the victims of the Hissen Habré regime.

On 18 March 2002, Jacqueline Moudeina reportedly lodged a complaint with the tribunal of N’Djaména along with six other women against Commissioners Mahamat Wakaye, Mahamat Idriss and Taher Babouri, for illegitimate use of forces and serious injuries. It is reported that the hearing, originally scheduled for 16 September 2003, was adjourned many times. On 11 November 2003, the decision of the Tribunal correctionnel allegedly followed the opinion of the public prosecutor that there was no offence involved because the accused individuals were following orders from more senior officials.

Concern has been expressed that the opinion of the public prosecutor and of the Tribunal correctionnel that more senior officials in the regime ought to be prosecuted may not have been given in good faith,taking into account the general context of impunity in Chad.

Front Line welcomes the trial of a former colleague of Hissen Habré, a success in itself in a country where President Idriss Déby has re-employed many torturers belonging to the former regime. However, there are serious concerns that the release of Mahamat Wakaye shows an intention to guarantee the impunity of those of Hissen Habré’s accomplices who are working for the present government. The commission of enquiry into Hissen Habré’s crimes recommended that all employees of the security services who have been rehabilitated and re-employed in the security services of the present regime should be dismissed.