The military authorities in Chad announced a general amnesty for all Chadians, civilian and military, notably for police and military personnel, in the wake of a demonstration that was put down in a bloodbath just over a year ago. The amnesty law was adopted by the National Transitional Council (CNT) with 92.4% of the members of this legislative body appointed by General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who was proclaimed transitional president by the army two and a half years ago. The law is part of a commitment to “national reconciliation” and applies “to all Chadians, civilians and soldiers”, according to the text seen by AFP. The proposed amnesty had sparked an outcry in the ranks of the opposition and NGOs, who accused the government of shielding from justice the police and military officers responsible for a “massacre”.
The demonstration that led to the amnesty was bloodily repressed in Chad in 2022, with security forces firing on protesters in several cities across Chad, including N’Djamena, the capital, on October 20, 2022, killing at least 50 people and injuring dozens of others. A year later, the transitional government was only talking about six deaths, 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 and then released. However, no member of the security forces has been publicly incriminated, and no arrest has been announced among them.
A referendum is scheduled for December 17 to adopt 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. Amnesty International and the Chadian Human Rights League (LTDH) have criticized the absence of serious investigations into those allegedly responsible for the killings and called for an international enquiry.