Dakar - A landmark trial against Chadian ex-president Hissene Habre began on Monday in Senegal's capital, Dakar, with at least 2 500 of the dictator's victims submitting their testimonies.
The trial will make Habre, who is said to have prevented all forms of opposition with a system of arrest, torture and murder during his rule from 1982 to 1990, the first African ex-president to be tried in sub-Sahara Africa.
Rights groups accuse the 72-year-old of being responsible for the deaths of 40 000 people during his time in power. He also stands accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture.
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Habre's case will be heard before the Extraordinary African Chambers, a special criminal court set up by the African Union within the Senegalese court system.
After living freely in exile in Senegal for 22 years, Habre was detained in Dakar in July 2013, less than 72 hours after US president Barack Obama during a visit to Senegal expressed his support to try the ex-leader.
Habre's arrest had been delayed for years by Senegal's administration, ignoring Belgian courts' efforts to speed up the process and try the dictator in Europe.