Saleh Younous

09.05.2016 ( Last modified: 07.06.2016 )
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Saleh Younous was born on 1st January 1949 in Faya-Largeau, Chad. He was the first director of the Direction de la documentation et de la sécurité (DDS), who carried out his functions from April 1983 to 30 May 1987.

Created by the Presidential decree n° 005/PF of 26 January 1983, the DDS was an intelligence central directly subordinated to the Presidency of the Republic. At that time, the President of the Republic was Hissène Habré, now prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture before the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese jurisdictions.

As the director of the DDS, Younous was supervising in N’Djaména the arrest and torture operations undertaken by the Brigade spéciale d’intervention rapide (BSIR), which carried out the interrogations. Furthermore, Younous was designated by several victims as a perpetrator of acts of torture.

In 1990, Habré was removed from power and ran away to Senegal. The same year, a decree in Chad created a National commission of inquiry, whose report was published in May 1992, after 17 months of work.

In 2000, a complaint was filed by victims before the Chadian tribunals. Chad did not follow it up, until things evolved in 2014, because of a parallel procedure in front of the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese jurisdictions.


legal procedure

In 2000, a complaint was filed by victims before the Chadian tribunals. Chad did not follow it up, until things evolved in 2014, because of a parallel procedure in front of the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese jurisdictions.

On 11 October 2013, the Pre-Trial Extraordinary African Chamber issued an international arrest warrant against him, knowing that he was in Chad, were he was detained.

In the Extraordinary African Chambers Prosecutor’s initial indictment, released on 2 July 2013, the charging of Habré, and of five other individuals, including Younous, was required.

The charging of this latter was required by the Pre-Trial Extraordinary African Chamber on 3 October 2014, through an international rogatory commission that was not executed, because Chad held that this individual had already been charged by a Chadian judge. At the same time, Chad refused to transfer him to the Extraordinary African Chambers.

On 23 October 2014, the indictment chamber of N’Djaména court of appeal released an referral order of 29 alleged accomplices of Hissène Habré, including Younous, in front of a criminal chamber in the same town. The crimes listed by this order were the following: murders, tortures, deprivation of liberty, arbitrary detentions, intentional assaults and batteries, deadly intentional assaults and batteries and other acts of barbarism.

On 14 November 2014, the trial of the 29 alleged accomplices started in N’Djaména.

In parallel, the 13 February 2015, the Pre-Trial Extraordinary African Chamber released an order in which it referred Hissène Habré in front of the Assize Extraordinary African Chamber. At the same time, the Pre-Trial Chamber said that the status of “charged person” could not be given to Younous, first because of the fact that the international rogatory commission of the 3 October 2014 was not executed, because of the parallel procedure in Chad, and then due to the fact that this latter was not transferred to the Extraordinary African Chambers.

According to this referral order of 13 February 2015, Younous’ responsibility might have been engaged for crimes against humanity and torture under the joint criminal enterprise.

On 25 March 2015, N’Djaména court of appeal rendered its decision. Younous, together with seven heads of the security services, was sentenced to forced labor for life, for murders and tortures. Three accused were sentences to 20 years of forced labor, four were discharged and the others were attributed sentences from seven to fifteen years of forced labor.

N’Djaména court of appeal also ruled on reparations in its decision. It held that the 7’000 victims will have to receive FCFA 75’000’000’000, coming half from the sale of the convicted persons’ goods and half from the state of Chad, declared liable in civil law. It also decided that a building in memory of the victims would be erected and that the former headquarters of the DDS would become a museum.



The trial that took place in N’Djaména from 14 November 2014 to 25 March 2015 is the first procedure that succeeded in Chad as regards the crimes committed on this territory under the presidency of Hissène Habré, from 1982 to 1990.

The judgment in this case was rendered before the beginning of the trial of Hissène Habré in front of the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Senegalese jurisdictions, on 20 July 2015.

The individuals were convicted in Chad for ordinary crimes, since Chad hasn’t incorporated the most severe international crimes within its domestic law.



Chad gained independence from France on 11 August 1960 and has known no real period of peace since then. A long running civil war, several invasions by Libya and the emergence of rebel movements in various regions have torn the country apart for several decades. The division between the North of Chad, a desert land populated by Muslims, and a fertile South inhabited by animists converted to Christianity, was reinforced by the French colonialists who favoured the South thereby reversing the “historical” domination of the North.

For almost twenty years, Libya exercised a direct influence over Chad’s political affairs. In 1973, it first occupied, then, in 1975, annexed, the Aozou strip, in the North, a stretch of land claimed by both countries. The Libyan government also supported several rebel groups from the North of Chad, most notably the Chad National Liberation Front, FROLINAT, founded in 1966, which fought with the goal of promoting opposition to the monopoly on power exercised by the South.

In 1979, the Transitional Government of National Union (GUNT-French acronym) gained power following an agreement reached in Lagos at which the main warring factions were brought together. This coalition fell apart in March 1980 when the Minister of Defence,Hissène Habré seceded with his Armed Forces of the North (FAN-French acronym), which he had founded three years beforehand. In doing so he unleashed a 9 month battle that devastated the capital, N’Djamena.

With the solid support of Reagan in the USA, Hissène Habré came to power on 7 June 1982. He immediately set up a one party regime with his stated intent being to bring peace and calm to Chad and to end for once and for all the dissidence in the South. In 1982, Habré’s FAN, which in the interim had become the regular armed forces and was to take the name of the National Armed Forces of Chad (FANT-French acronym), regained control over the principal towns in the South of Chad. However, far from being pacified, the South was then witness to the emergence of a widespread armed opposition fiercely opposed to Habré, called the CODOS (an abbreviation of “Commandos”. This climate of resistance and opposition to Habré led to the “Black September” of 1984. Several sources have indicated that the repression against the southern opposition at the time was especially violent and was aimed not only at the CODOS rebels but also at the civilian population and in particular those in positions of responsibility, such as civil servants and senior administrative officials, all of whom were suspected of collusion with the rebels. In certain prefectures, widespread arrests and massive executions of civilians were carried out intentionally with the sole aim of spreading terror.

Many witnesses have given evidence on the eight years of the Hissène Habré regime during which there were widespread arrests, mass murders, and persecutions against certain ethnic groups whose leaders appeared to him to be a threat to his regime. Notably amongst such groups which were periodically targeted were the Sara and other southern groups( in 1984), the Hadjarai (in 1987), Chadian Arabs and the Zaghawa (1989-1990). In 1992, the Truth Commission of the Chadian Justice Minister, established by President Déby, accused the Habré government of some 40’000 politically motivated murders and of systematic torture. The major part of these predations were carried out by Habré’s political police- the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS)- whose leaders were accountable only to Hissène Habré and who were all members of his own small Gorane ethnic group.

After Hissène Habrés came to power, the GUNT still continued its resistance in exile with the support of Libya. In June 1983, the GUNT forces took over Faya-Largeau in the far North of Chad with the help of Libyan troops. The Libyan troops were to occupy the North of Chad up until the counter-offensive by Habré’s forces which was launched in 1986 and continued until March 1987, at which time the movement began the re-conquest of the North with the support of the French army. Habré and Qaddafi then concluded a cease fire agreement in September 1987. Diplomatic relations between Chad and Libya were re-established in October 1988. The Baghdad Accords were signed a month later thereby sealing the reconciliation between Habré and Acheikh Ibn Oumar a former leader of the GUNT.

On 1st December 1990, after a year of rebellion, the Patriotic Movement of Salvation, a rebel force led by President Idriss Déby, forced Hissène Habré from power. Prison doors were subsequently opened up and hundreds of political prisoners who had been held in various secret detention centres in the capital of Chad were thus liberated.


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