History of the ICJS International Campaign Justice for Sankara

A quarter of a century of struggle!

GRILA was born in 1984, coinciding with the Burkina Faso’s revolution. Both were working to realize the pan-African dream and a self-centered development. Following the assassination of Thomas Sankara in 1987, GRILA reacted strongly and for 33 years organized commemorative events in all its sections every October 15, never missing an opportunity to recall the work of the Sankarist revolution and help its supporters.


For more than nine years, the Compaoré regime gave no explanation for the death of Sankara and his comrades, and assassinated several other comrades and intimidated opponents.


In the summer of 1997, a few months before the ten-year statute of limitations expired, three GRILA members, Housseini Boly, Dominique Traoré and Aziz Fall, alerted the group to the imminence of the October 15, 1997 date and the risk of seeing the risks of legal recourse extinguished. The decision was made to work differently on the Sankara case. It was under these circumstances that his widow Mariam Serme Sankara courageously filed a complaint against X and forgery. The lawyer Dieudonnée Nkounkou of Montpellier and Bénéwendé Sankara enlist the case and take his defense.


GRILA launches the international campaign against impunity: Justice for Sankara in the form of an appeal. The appeal was endorsed, among others, by the Human Rights Commission, the African Human Rights Network, the Togolese League for Human Rights, the Inter-African Union for Human Rights (Burkina), Amnesty International (Canada), Christian Action Against Torture, the CISO International Center for Workers’ Solidarity, the coordination of young opposition parties (Senegal) Organization of Pan-African Youth (Senegal), CIMADE, FIDH, Survie (France), Club Thomas Sankara (Mali) Gruppo Mission (Italy) and endorsed by personalities such as Prof. Jean Ziegler (Switzerland), Prof. Issa Ndiaye (Mali) the journalist Jean Philippe Rapp, the politician Edgar Pisani (France) Prof. Vincent Coulibaly (Mali), Mr. Jean Carbonare (FIDH), Dr. Buuba Diop ANAFA (Senegal), Alioune Tine (RADDHO) Ms. Coulibaly (African Network for Integrated Development) … Thousands of signatures throughout the years have supported our work, including during the Sankara caravan that has crisscrossed several countries in 3 continents in 2007. The mobilization of the ICSJ has contributed to keeping alive the thought and struggles of Sankarists in Burkina Faso and in the world.


The ICJS has exhausted all the remedies of the Burkinabe courts, instrumentalized by the Françafrique regime, and had to resort to the UN Human Rights Committee. It set an international precedent against impunity. With the overthrow of the Compaoré regime, a new regime allowed a new trial to be organized. It will open on October 11, 2021.
Several lawyers and comrades continue the marathon work of the ICSJ until the truth is revealed and justice obtained for Thomas Sankara and his comrades.
The ICSJ thanks all comrades around the world for their mobilization until the final victory!

Do you have questions? Call or email us.

+1 (514) 499-3418




Get latest news & update

Connect With Us