New film shines light on victims of Chad’s Habré regime

Rose_Chad

Rose Lokissim. © Human Rights Watch

Former Chadian leader Hissène Habré will soon face trial for numerous alleged atrocities. A new documentary shows that the struggle for justice began almost 30 years ago when one victim bravely decided to speak out.

In “Talking about Rose,” Spanish director Isabel Coixet and narrator Juliette Binoche tell the story of Rose Lokissim, who was imprisoned and tortured by Chad’s secret police in the 1980s. Rose smuggled notes to relative describing the torture suffered by her and other prisoners at the hands of the Directorate of Documentation and Security (DDS).

The DDS discovered Rose’s actions and killed her in 1986, but could not stop her from inspiring other victims to wage a long campaign to see Habré and the DDS held accountable.

With the support of civil society organizations like Human Rights Watch, that campaign resulted in the creation of the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal, where Habré’s trial will commence on 20 July.

Binoche:

“The mission which Rose gave herself, to tell the world the truth about Hissène Habré’s prisons, is finally being achieved.”

The Extraordinary African Chambers were created by the African Union and Senegal and operate within Senegalese courts. The Chambers have jurisdiction over acts of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture committed in Chad from 1982 to 1990.

Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture alleged committed from 1982 to 1990.

In March, victims were awarded reparations after 20 former government officials were convicted of torture by a court in Chad.

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