Hissène Habré

Hissène Habré
حسين حبري
Habbre.jpg
7th President of Chad
In office
7 June 1982 – 1 December 1990
Prime Minister Djidingar Dono Ngardoum
Preceded by Goukouni Oueddei
Succeeded by Idriss Déby
1st Prime Minister of Chad
In office
29 August 1978 – 23 March 1979
Preceded by François Tombalbaye
(as PM of colonial Chad)
Succeeded by Djidingar Dono Ngardoum
Personal details
Born (1942-09-13) 13 September 1942 (age 74)
Faya-Largeau, French Equatorial Africa
Political party National Union for Independence and Revolution
Spouse(s) Fatime Raymonde
Religion Islam

Hissène Habré ( Chadian Arabic: حسين حبري  pronounced  [hiˈsɛn ˈhabre]; French pronunciation: ​ [isɛn abʁe]; born 13 September 1942), also spelled Hissen Habré, is a Chadian politician, best known as Chad's President from 1982 until he was deposed in 1990. He was brought to power with the support of France and the United States, who provided training, arms and financing. [1]

In May 2016 he was found guilty of human-rights abuses, including rape, sexual slavery and ordering the killing of 40,000 people, and sentenced to life in prison. He is the first former head of state to be convicted for human rights abuses in the court of another nation. [2]

Early life

Habré was born in 1942 in Faya-Largeau, northern Chad, then a colony of France, into a family of shepherds. He is a member of the Anakaza branch of the Daza ethnic group, which is itself a branch of the Toubou ethnic group. [3] After primary schooling, he obtained a post in the French colonial administration, where he impressed his superiors and gained a scholarship to study in France at the Institute of Overseas Higher Studies in Paris. He completed a university degree in political science in Paris, and returned to Chad in 1971. He also obtained several other degrees and earned his Doctorate from the Institute. After a further brief period of government service as a deputy prefect, [4] he visited Tripoli and joined the National Liberation Front of Chad (FROLINAT) where he became a commander in the Second Liberation Army of FROLINAT along with Goukouni Oueddei. After Abba Siddick assumed the leadership of FROLINAT, the Second Liberation Army, first under Oueddei's command and then under Habré's, split from FROLINAT and became the Command Council of the Armed Forces of the North (CCFAN). In 1976 Oueddei and Habré quarreled and Habré split his newly named Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armées du Nord or FAN) from Goukouni's followers who adopted the name of People's Armed Forces (Forces Armées Populaires or FAP). Both FAP and FAN operated in the extreme north of Chad, drawing their fighters from the Toubou nomadic people.

Habré first came to international attention when a group under his command attacked the town of Bardaï in Tibesti, on 21 April 1974, and took three Europeans hostage, with the intention of ransoming them for money and arms. The captives were a German physician, Dr. Christoph Staewen (whose wife Elfriede was killed in the attack), and two French citizens, Françoise Claustre, an archeologist, and Marc Combe, a development worker. Staewen was released on 11 June 1974 after significant payments by West German officials. [5] [6] [7] Combe escaped in 1975, but despite the intervention of the French Government, Claustre (whose husband was a senior French government official) was not released until 1 February 1977. Habré split with Oueddei, partly over this hostage-taking incident (which became known as the "Claustre affair" in France). [4]