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Backstory Talks: To Catch a Dictator
Backstory Talks: To Catch a Dictator

Thu, Jun 06



Backstory Talks: To Catch a Dictator

Join Reed Brody and Roane Carey for a riveting discussion of Brody's book, To Catch a Dictator — and its implications for justice in places like Ukraine and Gaza.

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Time & Location

Jun 06, 2024, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Barcelona, C/ de Mallorca, 330, L'Eixample, 08037 Barcelona, Spain


About the event

“An absorbing saga that raises a disturbing question: How do brutal...heads of state evade a courtroom reckoning for so long after falling from power?”

--Washington Post Book World

“From one of the world’s great fighters for justice, a most powerful tale of true crime that is at once gripping, forensic, and deeply human.”

--Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

“Part political thriller, part memoir, part handbook for human rights attorneys and activists the world over”

--Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

As the world grapples with how to hold Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu accountable for war crimes, the campaign to convict Hissène Habré stands as a hopeful example. The former American-backed dictator of Chad had terrorized, tortured, and killed on a horrific scale over eight bloody years in power. After his overthrow, his victims were determined to see Habré held responsible for his atrocities. Their quest for justice would be long, tense, and unnerving, but they would not back down. 

To Catch a Dictator is a dramatic insider’s account of the hunt for Habré and his momentous trial. Prosecutor Reed Brody recounts how he and an international team of investigators, legal experts, and victims worked across three continents to unearth evidence, petition courts and skeptical governments, and rally public opinion. They faced many obstacles and constant threats. One of Brody’s Chadian colleagues was gravely injured in a bomb attack, others had to seek asylum. Habré fought back bitterly, drawing on secret bank accounts and extensive political connections to preserve his life of luxurious exile. Yet Brody and his allies ultimately triumphed: Habré became the first former head of state to be convicted of crimes against humanity in the courts of another country. This fast-paced, suspenseful book shows that there is nothing inevitable about the impunity that too often protects the powerful and that even the worst tyrants can be brought to justice.

Join Reed Brody and Roane Carey for a riveting discussion of the book — as well as its implications for justice in places like Ukraine and Gaza.


From Nicaragua, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib to East Timor, Tibet and the Congo, Reed Brody has been on the frontlines of investigating atrocities and bringing their perpetrators to justice. He worked for 18 years alongside Hissène Habré’s victims and has helped pursue despots such as Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Jean-Claude Duvalier of Haiti, and Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia. He writes and speaks frequently about international justice in Ukraine, Gaza and elsewhere.

Roane Carey, former senior editor at The Nation, is the editor of The New Intifada (Verso) and, with Jonathan Shainin, The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent (New Press).

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