WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Wednesday after Hissene Habré, the former leader of Chad, was found guilty of war crimes this week by the Extraordinary African Chambers, an African Union-backed court:
“Hissene Habré’s regime was responsible for horrific acts of violence, including large scale detention and torture of political prisoners, murder and rape. I welcome his conviction, the result of tireless efforts by victims, lawyers and other members of the international community to ensure justice is served.
“I commend the Senegalese government, the Chadian government and the African Union for their work to establish and assist the court, which has, for the first time, held accountable the head of another African country for ruthless acts against his own people. Countless Chadians fought for years to have their voices heard in a court of law, and this case serves as a model for the international community as we seek to end impunity for violence against civilians.
“Let this verdict also stand as a reminder to today’s leaders, such as Bashar al-Assad, that those who violate basic human rights and commit atrocities against their citizens will one day be held to account for their crimes. The international community is watching.”