Press Release

35th Commemoration of The Assassination of Thomas Sankara and His Companions

The year 2022 was marked by many events in Burkina Faso. The international part of the trial was separated and a trial under military jurisdiction took place. On 23 January 2022, in the midst of the trial for the assassination of Thomas Sankara, a coup d’état was staged by the Mouvement patriotique pour la sauvegarde et la restauration (Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration), led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba. The regime denounced the inertia of the Kaboré government against terrorism and announced its takeover. Shortly afterwards, the constitution was suspended and then restored, with exceptional measures.

The trial in the Sankara case resumed and the main defendants were sentenced to heavy penalties on 6 April 2022. Among them, President Compaoré, sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for “attack on state security” and “complicity in murder”.

But negotiations with Abidjan had been going on for some time. A section of the political class argues that the former Compaoré regime, having made pacts with the jihadists, could restore peace.The return of the former president is called for and in the name of reconciliation, between parties that are not stated. A summit of the country’s former heads of state is then orchestrated by the Damiba regime. This is how Blaise Compaoré was received on 7 July 2022 with impunity. The red carpet was rolled out for him rather than arresting him, even though the summit failed. On 26 July, with a semblance of contrition, Compaoré asked for forgiveness in the press, without contacting the families and without acknowledging his heinous crimes, and above all without facing justice. The International Campaign for Justice for Sankara considered this failure of justice and the continuation of impunity unacceptable.

On 30 September members of the Patriotic Movement for the Safeguard and Restoration overthrew their leader and installed Captain Ibrahima Traoré. Once appointed president, he convened a national conference to be held on 14 and 15 October 2022 to allow a second transitional charter. This second day coincides with the date of the assassination of President Sankara and his colleagues.

The family of President Sankara has been waiting for 35 years for justice to be done, for the verdict to be carried out and for the international part of the trial to be investigated. The ICJS demands from the French, Ivorian and American authorities the disclosure of all archival documents relating to President Sankara. We demand a dignified national funeral in accordance with the wishes of the families. Moreover, there can be no reconciliation without truth and respect for the decisions of justice. The attempts at amnesty by the former regime’s caciques will not be accepted either by the Burkinabe or by pan-Africans throughout the world.

The assassination of President Sankara and the end of his revolution have nothing to do with the terrorist aggressions that affect the Sahel and Burkina. On this issue, the ICJS urges internationalists and pan-Africans around the world to show solidarity with the resistance of the Burkinabe people.