Belgium has played an important role in the case coming to court. Many of the president's victims and their relatives filed complaints in Belgium on the basis of the country's anti-genocide law.
Habré seized power in 1982 and proceeded to eliminate some 40,000 opponents. Other opponents were tortured. Habré was toppled in 1990 and fled to Senegal where he has live in exile ever since.
Much of the evidence that will be produced in court was collected by Belgian investigators.