«We must achieve justice, so that we one day may cry for our dead,» says Clément Abaïfouta in Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy.

The current Film from the South documentary (which was also screened at the Bergen International Film Festival last month) portrays the many human rights violations committed in Chad during the 1982-1990 rule of President Hissein Habré. This is a part of African history which did not garner much attention from the rest of the world, despite the fact that tens of thousands of people lost their lives during his particularly brutal regime.

In the eyes of the West, Libya’s Gaddafi was the African continent’s big enemy, whilst Habré and his feared, secret police were allegedly supported by both France and the USA.

In 2015, Habré was, at long last, put on trial in a special Senegalese court, accused of crimes against mankind, as the first African despot made responsible for his actions in a trial supported by the African union. This lead to the man dubbed «the Pinochet of Africa» in May this year being sentenced to life imprisonment for sexual slavery, torture and to have ordered the slaughter of 40,000 people.

HISSEIN HABRÈ, A CHADIAN TRAGEDY. Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Portrays the victims. The same month as the judgement fell, Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film does not, however, devote much time on the trial itself, but focuses on some of its campaigners, in the form of a support organisation for the many victims who suffered abuse at the hands of the regime.

The documentary is created as a series of selected portraits of these people, who in detail, talk about the horrors they were exposed to, and of which they remain, both physically and mentally, deeply affected by. This is party done to the camera, but largely as conversations with aforementioned Clément Abaïfouta, himself also a victim, who acts as the film’s narrator and «presenter».

The man who was dubbed «The Pinochet of Africa» was sentenced to death imprisonment for sexual slavery, torture and to have ordered the slaughter of 40, 000 people.

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