A historic trial has been concluded. It is with great satisfaction that we learn of the life sentences given to Blaise Compaoré, Gilbert Diendéré and Hyancinthe Kafando. Such an outcome was never sure. But if the essence of the national conspiracy has been unraveled by the six months procedure, the demands to bring out the remaining truths about the international conspiracy continue.
All kinds of maneuvers were tried to obstruct this justice, chief among them:
– the blocking of all judicial procedures under the Blaise Compaoré regime;
– the about-face of the UN Human Rights Committee in 2008, concealing the fact that it had requested an investigation into the assassinations two years before
– the exfiltration of Blaise Compaoré, by French special forces, after the 2014 insurrection ,to avoid the Burkina Faso justice system;
– the slowness of the French authorities in refusing to deliver the “secret defence” documents promised by French President Emmanuel Macron in November 2017 in Ouagadougou;
– the final attempt by defence lawyers to suspend the trial following the January 2022 coup.
As we have already said, that this trial was held at all constitutes a victory. The outcome of this trial, is the result of years of engagement by determined individuals, culminating in the magnificent uprising of October 2014, and of international mobilisation. It is also a demonstration of the effectiveness of the local organisation alongside the global, of solidarity, and of the commitment to peace and justice.
We also thank all those, numerous throughout the world, who have participated in campaigns to demand justice, including that of our international network Justice for Sankara Justice for Africa, which has not ceased to act, to alert and to inform since 2008.
To persevere through a six month trial in a country in the grip of war is a real challenge. We would like to pay tribute to the work of the lawyers for the prosecution and some of the defense lawyers who acted in utmost sincerity, to the commitment of the examining magistrate François Yaméogo who conducted his investigation with rigour and consistency, and to the authority and fairness shown by the president of the jury Urbain Méda.
We would also like to praise Mariam Sankara for her courage, dignity and tenacity throughout the long struggle she has waged, as well as the brothers and sisters who have thwarted the Blaise Compaoré regime’s attempts at manipulation in Burkina Faso.
Our thoughts are with the families of Thomas Sankara and the families of his fellow victims, Bonaventure Compaoré, Christophe Saba, Frédéric Kiemdé, Patrice Zagré, Paulin Babou Bamouni, Abdoulaye Gouem, Emmanuel Bationo, Hamado Sawadogo, Noufou Sawadogo, Wallilaye Ouédraogo, Paténéma Soré and Der Somda.in the hope that these sentences will alleviate some of their pain and allow each family to finally find peace of mind.
We strongly regret the absence of Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando, the leader of the commando. We demand that Côte d’Ivoire proceed with their extradition. They have chosen to flee rather than come to explain and defend themselves.
Unfortunately, the disloyalty of certain witnesses in relation to what they had stated during their hearings showed that fear had not disappeared. But for the most part, the investigation and then the trial have unraveled the threads of the conspiracy, at least for its national component. It is established that on 15 October 1987, the commando left from Blaise Compaoré’s home. Thomas Sankara and his collaborators were killed without warning, as well as the guards and gendarmes present on the spot that day. Lieutenant Koama, who was close to Thomas Sankara and most likely to intervene to defend him, had been assassinated some time before. Gilbert Diendéré, who was present at the scene, gave the orders to send groups of soldiers to secure the town and take control of the garrisons that might have reacted.
However, the battle is not over. The French state has still not provided important documents. We will continue to press for the fulfillment of the promise made by President Macron in Ouagadougou in November 2017.
We call on all democratic forces in France, the United States, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Libya, Liberia and Sierra Leone to intervene with their respective governments so that they sincerely collaborate with the Burkinabe justice system. The “Sankara and companions” case is not over. The international investigation must continue. Our network will remain alert and active.
Signed in Ouagadougou, Banfora, Bobo Dioulasso, Ottawa, Nîmes, Niamey, Montpellier, Berlin, Dakar, Sabadel, Barcelona, Marseille, Ajaccio, Toulouse, Las Palmas, Turin, Rome, Toronto, Albany, New York between 6 and 8 April 2022
The International Network Justice for Sankara Justice for Africa