The military authorities in Chad announced Thursday, November 23, a general amnesty, particularly for the police and soldiers, as part of a demonstration repressed in a bloodbath a little over a year ago. Before its adoption, the amnesty project had raised an outcry in the ranks of the opposition and NGOs, who accused the government of shielding from justice the police and military personnel responsible for a “massacre”.

The National Transitional Council (CNT) adopted the amnesty law for 92.4% of the members of this legislative body appointed by General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, proclaimed transitional president by the army two and a half years ago . 145 national councilors voted for, 6 against and 2 abstained, Abderaman Koulamallah, Minister of National Reconciliation, told AFP. As part of a desire for “national reconciliation”, according to the text, the law applies to “all Chadians, civil and military”.

On October 22, 2022, demonstrators protested against the maintenance of the military in power, who had just extended by two years an eighteen-month transition at the end of which they had initially promised to return it to civilians through elections. Around fifty people were killed that day according to the authorities, between a hundred and 300 according to the opposition and local and international NGOs, with almost all of the young demonstrators shot dead by the military and the police, mainly in N’Djamena.

“Black Thursday”

A few days after what the opposition calls “Black Thursday”, the government announced that “several members of the police were also killed that day”. But, a year later, the transitional government only spoke of six, including three police officers in the capital.

To date, more than 400 young demonstrators, among at least 600 imprisoned, have been sentenced to prison for “insurrection”, before being pardoned by Mahamat Déby, then released. But no member of the police has been publicly incriminated, nor any arrests announced among them.

On October 20, 2022 and the days that followed, more than 600 young protesters, including 83 minors, were arrested, according to the government, and taken to the sinister Koro Toro prison in the middle of the desert. After a month and a half in this penitentiary usually reserved for detainees of Boko Haram and the Islamic State (IS) group, more than 400 had been sentenced in a mass trial without lawyers.

The opposition and local and international NGOs had mentioned between 1,000 and 2,000 people arrested in large roundups, dozens of whom have since gone missing, victims of “extrajudicial executions” or during their transport to Koro Toro. Others were victims of acts of “torture”.

“Unfair trials”

On April 20, 2021, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, then aged 37, was proclaimed president at the head of a junta of fifteen generals, following the death of his father Idriss Déby Itno, killed by rebels while surrendering on the front after having ruled the country with an iron fist for thirty years.

Mahamat Déby had immediately promised to return power to civilians through elections at the end of an eighteen-month transition but, eighteen months later, the government had extended it for two years on the recommendation of a “dialogue national” boycotted by a large majority of the opposition and among the most powerful of the rebel groups.

“Although the authorities immediately promised an investigation, all we have seen so far are unfair trials of demonstrators (…) and the absence of serious investigations into those allegedly responsible for the killings,” deplored Amnesty International on October 20. “We maintain our demand for an international investigation,” Adoum Mahamat Boucar, president of the Chadian League for Human Rights (LTDH), who criticizes a “culture of impunity,” told AFP.

A referendum is planned for December 17 for the adoption of a new Constitution paving the way for presidential and legislative elections in 2024. The vast majority of opposition parties are already calling for a boycott.