401 defendants out of 621 in all appear on Tuesday. The other 220, who face more serious charges, will be presented later.
Most this hearing takes place without the lawyers who have decided to suspend their activity throughout the country for the duration of the trial. The lawyers denounce the illegal deportation of the defendants more than 500 kilometers away, in violation according to them of the rules governing the limits of the territorial jurisdictions of the courts.
They also denounce the hearing imprisoned people without the assistance of a lawyer.
‘’They tell me that my son is in Koro Toro and that the Red Cross people are taking care of him, but is that true or not? I do not know. As a father it worries me a lot since without lawyers, how will they judge them? They did nothing, they protested just for their right” explains Grégoire Ousmane the father of Ousmane Andjafa, a 22-year-old young man arrested following the October 20 protest.
This situation does not honor Chadian justice, believes political scientist Evariste Ngarlem Toldé. According to him ”to evoke the public hearings to make a judgment in Koro Toro does not honor our justice. It is time for the government to understand that this way of doing things risks making the situation even more tense. They are defendants, they are entitled to fair justice. What is happening in Koro Toro is a way of keeping victims away from parents and curious people who want to attend these hearings“.
“A parody of justice”
For lawyer Max Loalngar, spokesman for the Wakit-Tama citizen movementone of the organizations behind the October 20 protests, which has been living in hiding ever since, the government should simply postpone the trial.
“The absence of lawyers at a trial is a travesty of justice. One cannot conceive of a trial without the defendants’ cause being defended. The judicial authorities, like the political authorities, must take into account the lawyers’ refusal to appear at this hearing and simply postpone this hearing. Bring the defendants back to N’Djamena, allow the opening of a truly independent investigation so that, if there really is an insurrection as they claim, we open the way to a fair trial‘ he specifies.
Contacted by Deutsche Welle, neither the Minister of Justice, Mahamat Ahmat Alhabo, nor the spokesperson for the Chadian government, Aziz Mahamat Saleh, wished to react on this subject.