The trial of more than 400 rebels accused of assassinating former Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno opened Monday in the capital N’Djamena.
Around 454 former combatants are facing multiple charges including terrorism, enlisting minors in an armed group, undermining security and territorial integrity and the assassination of the former president at the Specialized Criminal Chamber of the N’Djamena Court of Appeal, according to the Chad Information Agency.
At the opening of the trial, Prosecutor General Mahamat El-hadj Baba Nana said the trial was critical for Chadian justice, which will make it possible to establish the responsibility of the defendants in the case.
The trial was adjourned to Wednesday to allow all the suspects to have lawyers.
The suspects, belonging to a rebel group calling itself the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), were captured in April 2021 during clashes with the Chadian army in the north of the country in which former President Deby died.
Deby, who had ruled the country for 30 years, died on the front line several hundred kilometers north of N’Djamena, where he had gone to visit troops battling the rebels.
Following his death, a military council led by Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, was instituted to govern the country for an 18-month transition period and then hand over power to an elected government last October, but that deadline was not met.
Mahamat Deby was inaugurated late last year as the nation’s transition president after being named by the National Sovereign Inclusive Dialogue forum.
The military also extended the transition period to elections by two years.
In October 2022, around 50 people were killed and more than 300 injured after security forces opened fire on protesters demanding an end to military rule.
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