Burkina Faso suspended by verdict in murder trial of Thomas Sankara

Burkina Faso suspended by verdict in murder trial of Thomas Sankara

Burkina Faso suspended by verdict in murder trial of Thomas Sankara

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The Ouagadougou military court is due to hand down a sentence on Wednesday 6 April in the case of the alleged murderers of Thomas Sankara. In this case there are 14 defendants, including two tried in absentia: former president Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando, his security chief. They are accused of having participated in the assassination of the former Burkinabe president, father of the revolution, assassinated with 12 of his collaborators on October 15, 1987. The relatives of the victims and the Burkinabe people have been waiting for this decision for 35 years. of Justice.

With our special envoy and our correspondent in Ouagadougou, Gaelle Laleix Y Yaya Boudani

It took several years of investigation, the hearing of more than 110 witnesses and 6 months of hearings to get to this day. Thirty-five years after the events, the material evidence is scant. No photos, no conclusive DNA evidence, no wiretaps, but a few forged death certificates.

Therefore, the accusation was based mainly on testimonies, but here again, the fog of memories remains thick. If it weren’t for Elysée Yamba Ilboudo, then driver of Blaise Compaoré, she remembers very well having led the men of the deadly commando to the Accord Council on October 15, 1987.

To read again: Web Documentary: Who Had Sankara Killed?

We left Blaise Compaoré’s house around 4 pm following Hyacinthe Kafando’s instructions. “, remember. The command then went to the building where Thomas Sankara and his collaborators were meeting. “ I saw Sankara raise his hands in the air and he was shot “says Elysée Yamba Ilboudo.

And then there’s Abderrahmane Zetyenga, then a chief petty officer. This former deputy of General Gilbert Diendéré does not tremble during his confrontation with Blaise Compaoré’s former chief of staff and remembers each of the orders given by his superior. Finally, Colonel Moussa Diallo, a former police officer, also remembers the “ lust for power by Blaise Compaore and Gilbert Diendere.

Diendéré denies the accusations

So many testimonies dismissed by the general during his hearings. Standing, in uniform, from the top of his meter 90, Gilbert Diendéré does not flinch before the bar, repeating with implacable logic the course of his day on October 17 and declaring himself innocent.

When asked why he did not retaliate or arrest the attackers who were nevertheless under his command. ” He was alone, unarmed. The slightest misstep and I would have become the fourteenth victim. ”, defended the former head of security of the Council of the agreement. Even if his version is challenged in court by Chief Warrant Officer Abderrahmane and other witnesses during the clashes.

Also read: Sankara trial: the role of General Gilbert Diendéré at the center of the latest allegations

For Major Colonel Moussa Diallo, a former aide-de-camp to Thomas Sankara, “ the designer of this case is Blaise Compaoré, the supervisor of the coup is General Gilbert Diendéré and the performers are the elements of Blaise Compaoré’s guard “.

Gilbert Diendéré faces a 20-year prison sentence today. Former President Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando, both in exile in the Ivory Coast and tried in absentia, face 30 years in prison.

Gilbert Diendéré in the defendants’ box, at the opening of the trial of the alleged murderers of Thomas Sankara. AFP – OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT

major problems

This trial should mark the end of impunity, explains a relative of a victim. He must also allow us to cry “. 35 years after the events, the families have still not recovered the remains of their loved ones to offer them burial.

But what is at stake in this trial is also historic. Above all, it is up to the Burkina Faso judiciary to show the world that it knew.” say the right thing “, as requested in his indictment by the military prosecutor’s office. In this sense, all parties have agreed to make it an exemplary trial, even if it means suffering numerous suspensions.

To read: Assassination of Thomas Sankara: challenges and limits of a historical trial

Finally, the issue is also political. Impossible under the reign of Blaise Compaoré, this legal procedure is one of the main achievements of the 2014 insurrection, which put an end to the former president’s regime. Defense attorneys have repeatedly denounced impeachment.

This procedure should in any case pave the way for others, in particular the trial of the alleged murderers of journalist Norbert Zongo, still suspended from the extradition of François Compaoré, brother of the former president.

It’s historic, because we never expected that one day we would be able to open this file. The mere fact that they have had the courage to open it and listen to some is already a satisfaction.

The people of Ouagadougou salute the holding of this trial and look forward to exemplary sentences

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