Saturday, 10 August 2013

Photo © Human Rights Watch 

Sifting through the thousands of documents strewn across the floors of an abandoned secret police headquarters in Chad, Reed Brody glimpsed the violent, final moments of Rose Lokissim’s brave life.

Brody, counsel for Human Rights Watch, first heard about Rose from survivors of the brutal regime of Chad’s former dictator Hissène Habré. A prisoner herself, Rose had been a vital source of information to families – quietly informing them when one of their relatives had been detained, delivering clandestine messages. Ultimately, the secret police learned of her actions and murdered her.

But it was one of the secret police documents that he and his Human Rights Watch colleague, Olivier Bercault, found in the abandoned headquarters of Habré’s personal Gestapo that gave Brody true insight into Rose’s staunch belief in justice.

As Rose’s interrogating officer wrote, Rose didn’t care what happened to her. Even if she were killed in custody, the interrogator wrote of Rose’s stance, “Chad will thank her and history will talk about her.”