International Campaign Justice for Sankara
Press release October 15, 2021 and press conference
On October 11, 2021, the trial in the case of President Thomas Sankara and twelve of his comrades assassinated on October 15, 1987 opened in Ouagadougou. The International Campaign Justice for Sankara is now in its 25th year seeking justice. During these years, against Burkina Faso as a state party instrumentalized by the Françafrique regime, the ICJS has exhausted all the remedies before the Burkinabe courts. The campaign even took its fight to the UN Human Rights Committee, setting an international precedent against impunity with a decision from the Committee in 2006.
With the popular overthrow of the Compaoré regime, a new political regime allowed the case to finally be investigated. The trial began before the Trial Chamber of the Military Tribunal of Ouagadougou (TMO), relocated to the Banquet Hall of OUAGA 2000. By order of the Indictment Chamber No. 06 of April 13, 2021, 14 defendants will be tried: KAFANDO Hyacinthe for attack on state security and murder (in absentia for lack of appearance); COMPAORE Blaise for concealment of corpses, attack on state security, complicity in murder (in absentia for lack of appearance); DIENDERE Gilbert for complicity in murder, attack on state security, subornation of witness, concealment of corpses; OUEDRAOGO Nabonswende, SAWAWADOGO Idrissa, ILBOUDO YambaElysee, OUEDRAOGO Tibo, BELEMLILGA Albert, Pascal Sibidi, DEME Djakalia, PALM Mori Aldjouma Jean-Pierre, TRAORE Bossobe, for complicity in an attack on state security; TRAORE Bossobe for complicity in murder; OUEDRAOGO Nabonswende, SA WA WADOGO Idrissa, ILBOUDO Yamba Elysée, for murder. DIEBRE Alidou Jean Christophe, KAFANDO Amado for forgery of a public document and TONDE Nindadit Pascal for subornation of a witness.
During the investigation, an extradition warrant was issued against Hyacinthe Kafando and against President Blaise Compaoré, who was exiled to Côte d’Ivoire. Both still refuse to appear at the trial.
France has selectively declassified and submitted three sets of documents related to this case. The Military Prosecutor’s Office has also retained a list of 67 witnesses and two experts, in addition to the witnesses of the civil parties. The ICJS has also summoned Burkina Faso as a liable party under the principle of the continuity of the State.
At the beginning of the hearing on October 11, 2021, after the composition of the Chamber had been established the case was postponed until October 25 at the request of defense attorneys who had recently been appointed for certain defendants and claimed they needed more time to pore through the extensive documentation on file.
The Military Tribunal refused to allow the entire trial to be recorded for the sake of history and archives of the Military Tribunal. However, the Military Prosecutor’s Office, questioned at the hearing by the Civil Parties, emphasized that the Military Tribunal of Ouagadougou has its own audiovisual service, and guarantees the security of these archives. The Court cited Article 43 of the Code of Military Justice, which prohibits “the reproduction of debates relating to crimes and offenses against the internal and external security of the State. This article, combined with the provisions of article 314-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, allows recordings to be made for purposes other than broadcasting.
The civil parties and all those who continue to demand at the national and international level for this trial to take place oppose this decision that prevents the safeguarding of an important part of Burkina’s history for future generations. It is regrettable that the upcoming debates, which should be an example of justice rendered with solemnity and respect for the rules of law and a fair trial will not be preserved for posterity.
Various political maneuvers, on the margin of this trial, take advantage of the situation in the country, subject to recurrent attacks by jihadist cells, to invoke immunity and amnesty for some of the accused or to evoke national reconciliation. The ICJS continues to advocate that due process and justice be served impartially and independently of any political pressure.
Our lawyers and comrades will continue the marathon work of the ICJS until justice for Thomas Sankara and his comrades is achieved. The ICJS counts on the support of the people of Burkina Faso and Pan-African people around the world to insist that truth and justice are achieved towards reconciliation.
Press conference of the collective of lawyers of the ICJS
will take place in the presence of Mrs. Mariam Sankara
On October 15 at 1pm, at the Thomas Sankara University, Commune of Saaba (after the toll of the RN4 road to Fada, telephone of the university 226 50 36 99 60)
Coordinator of the ICJS, Aziz Salmone Fall firstname.lastname@example.org +15142447873