The military court indicted the exiled former president of Burkina Faso for alleged accomplice in 1987 of the murder he eliminated in the coup, Thomas Sankara.
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – A military court in the capital Burkina Faso charged former President Blaise Compaore in connection with the murder of his prestigious predecessor, Thomas Sankara in 1987.
A statement issued by the court on Tuesday citing “accomplice in the assassination” and “attack on state security” by Compaore, who ruled the country until 2014, when he forced must resign before mass protests against an attempt to extend the 27-year Rule.
Thirteen other people – including Gilbert Diendere, Compaore’s right-hand man, and Hyacinthe Kafando, his security director – were also indicted on charges ranging from “assassination” to “hiding a corpse”. .
Benewende Stanislas Sankara, a lawyer representing the relatives of the killed former president, described the indictment as “a victory and a step in the right direction”.
“It’s a relief that the family can now go on with all the reassurance surrounding Burkinabe justice,” he told Al Jazeera. “Now we can calmly go to trial.”
Communications Minister Burkina Faso said an official government statement on the indictment is likely to be issued on Wednesday. Eddie Komboigo, leader of the Congressional for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party founded by Compaore, declined to comment on the court announcement.
Compaore, who has lived in exile in neighboring Côte d’Ivoire since 2014, has always denied involvement in Sankara’s assassination.
Sankara took power in 1983, but he was killed at the age of 37 along with 12 other government officials in the Compaore-led coup on October 15, 1987.
Many Burkinabes see Sankara as a national hero. As a famous Africanist, he is sometimes referred to as the continent’s “Che Guevera”, in connection with the Argentinian revolutionary Marxist, who led several armed struggles. including in Cuba.
In 2015, authorities unearthed what was believed to be the remains of Sankara from a grave in Dagnoen, a suburb of Ouagadougou. Sankara’s widow said an autopsy revealed his body was “punctured by more than a dozen bullets”.
To this day, graffiti calling for “Justice for Sankara” is a common sight across the capital.
“It’s a problem for the Burkinabe – and I have to say, Africans. So this goes beyond Thomas Sankara’s family, ”said Benewende Sankara.
After being re-elected last year, President Roch Kabore appointed a national reconciliation minister, Zephirin Diabre, who is committed to solving Sankara’s problems of justice.
In 2015, the Burkinabe court ordered Compaore international wanted, but President Ivory Alassane Ouattara prevented his extradition back to Burkina Faso despite the extradition treaty between the two countries.
During his election campaign ahead of the November 2020 poll, Kabore also said that he would Open the door for Compaore again return home to live after retirement.
A national debate ensued over whether the former president, now 70, should be tried upon his return or effectively pardoned for the sake of national reconciliation.
Benewende Sankara said: “A warrant can be made at any time if Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso strictly follow the existing agreements between the two countries. “I have to determine it can happen very quickly.”
Tuesday’s indictment could put further pressure on Ivory Coast to comply with the extradition treaty.
It is not clear when the trial will take place.
Sankara’s relatives initially brought the case to court in 1997. The case was closed shortly after, before being reopened by the country’s transitional government in 2015.
“We can say that the Sankara case has now passed all the necessary stages to review the ruling,” told Lassane Sawadogo, executive secretary of the ruling People’s Movement for Progress (MPP) party. Al Jazeera.
“This represents a decisive step forward for the realization of truth.”