DAKAR (Reuters) - Chad’s former ruler Hissene Habre has appealed against his conviction for crimes against humanity and war crimes, a spokesman for the Special African Chamber that conducted his trial in Senegal said on Saturday.
Habre, 73, an ally of the West during the Cold War, was sentenced on May 30 to life in prison for rape and ordering the killing and torture of thousands of political opponents during his eight-year rule.
“The lawyer’s commission have submitted the paperwork for Habre’s appeal,” said Marcel Mendy, a spokesman for the Chamber, a tribunal created in 2013 by Senegal and the African Union for human rights crimes committed during Habre’s rule.
New judges will be appointed and the appeal will take at least seven months with no start date set, Mendy said.
So far, the court has only tried Habre and the case marks a milestone for African justice. It is the first time in modern history that one country’s domestic courts have prosecuted the former leader of another country on rights charges. Other such cases have been tried by international tribunals.
The verdict capped a 16-year battle by victims and rights campaigners to bring the former strong man to justice in Senegal, where he fled after being ousted in a 1990 coup.
Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Helen Popper