International Campaign Justice for Sankara

Press Release of October 11, 2021 – Opening of the Trial – Sankara Case

On 11 October 2021 the trial in the case of President Thomas Sankara and twelve of his unfortunate comrades, assassinated on 15 October 1987 in the Conseil de I’Entente, opens in Ouagadougou. The International Justice for Sankara Campaign is in its 25th year. During these years, it has exhausted all the remedies available to it in the Burkinabe courts against the state party of Burkina Faso, which was instrumentalized by the Françafrique regime, and then had to resort to the UN Human Rights Committee. It set an international precedent against impunity in 2006.
With the overthrow of the Compaoré regime, a new political regime has allowed the case to be investigated. The trial is taking place before the Chamber of First Instance of the Military Tribunal of Ouagadougou, relocated to the Banquet Hall of OUAGA 2000. Following the judgment N° 06 of April 13, 2021, several persons were indicted and will be tried there: in absentia KAFANDO Hyacinthe for attack on State security and murder; in absentia COMPAORE Blaise for concealment of a corpse, attack on State security, complicity in murder; DIENDERE Gilbert for complicity in murder, attack on State security, subornation of witness, concealment of a corpse; OUEDRAOGO Nabonswende, SAWAWADOGO Idrissa, ILBOUDO Yamba Elysee, OUEDRAOGO Tibo, BELEMLILGA Albert, Pascal Sibidi, DEME Djakalia, PALM Mori Aldjouma Jean-Pierre, TRAORE Bossobe, for complicity in an attack on State security; DIEBRE Alidou Jean Christophe, KAFANDO Amado for forgery of a public document and TONDE Ninda dit Pascal for subornation of a witness; TRAORE Bossobe for complicity in murder; OUEDRAOGO Nabonswende, SAWA WADOGO Idrissa, ILBOUDO Yamba Elysée, for murder.
The Prosecution has retained a list of 67 witnesses and two expert witnesses. An extradition warrant has been issued against Hyacinthe Kafando and against President Blaise Compaoré, who has been exfiltrated to Côte d’Ivoire from where he still refuses to appear.
France has meanwhile declassified and submitted three sorted batches of documents related to the case. Although the ICJS is no longer against the State party in this trial, it holds the State civilly responsible for the respondents.

The trial is taking place at a time when Burkina Faso is destabilized by recurrent attacks by jihadist cells and population displacement. Various political maneuvers are playing on this delicate situation to invoke immunity and amnesty for the defendants or prematurely evoke national reconciliation, which makes it more difficult to deal with this case in a serene manner. Some of the new lawyers on the defense team for the defendants requested a postponement to study the case. The judge adjourned the trial to 25 October 2021. He also refused to allow the trial to be recorded. The ICJS requests that the trial be recorded by the registry in full transparency and for archival purposes.
Our lawyers and comrades continue the marathon work of the ICSJ until truth and justice for Thomas Sankara and his comrades are achieved. ICSJ looks forward to the support of the people of Burkina Faso and pan-Africans around the world to ensure that the truth is finally known, that justice is done, and that reconciliation occurs.