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Sober and upsetting

With striking sobriety, the documentary Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy, tells of the little-known abuses that took place under the rule of the despot Habré.
in Chad.  


Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy
Directed by: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

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

The South Documentary Film (also shown at Bergen International Film Festival last month) tells of the many human rights violations committed in Chad under Hissein Habré, who was president of the country from 1982 to 1990. This is part of Africa's history that has not received much attention in the world, despite the fact that tens of thousands of people have lost their lives under his extremely brutal rule.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-16-25-33In the West's eyes, Gaddafi in Libya was the major enemy of the African continent, while Habré and his dreaded secret police were reportedly supported by both France and the United States.

In 2015, Habré was finally brought to justice in a special court in Senegal, accused of crimes against humanity, which the first African despot held accountable for his actions in a trial supported by the African Union. This led to the man who has been referred to as "Africa's Pinochet" in May this year being sentenced to life in prison for sexual slavery, torture and for ordering the murder of 40 people.

Portraying the victims. The same month that this verdict fell, had Hissein Habré, A Chadian Tragedy premiere at this year's edition of the Cannes Film Festival. However, the film does not devote so much space to the trial itself, but instead focuses on some of its proponents, in the form of a support organization for the many victims of the regime's abuse.

The documentary is built up as a series of selected portraits of these people, which tell in-depth about the atrocities they have been exposed to, and are constantly both physically and mentally affected by. They do this partly in camera, but to a greater extent in conversations with the aforementioned Clément Abaïfouta, who himself is one of the victims and who acts as a kind of narrator and "director" in the film.

The man who has been referred to as "Africa's Pinochet" was sentenced to life in prison for sexual slavery, torture and for ordering the murder of 40 people.

One of these conversations also involves one of the perpetrators, where Abaïfouta takes on the role of moderator between this elderly man and one of. . .

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Aleksander Huser
Huser is a regular film critic in Ny Tid.

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