The trial of the assassination of Thomas Sankara, a pan-African icon killed with twelve other people in a coup d’état in 1987, will begin on October 11 in Ouagadougou, announced Tuesday August 17, the military prosecutor of Burkina Faso.
“The military prosecutor at the Ouagadougou military court informs national and international opinion that the trial of those implicated in the case of the assassination of President Thomas Sankara and his twelve companions will open on Monday, October 11, 2021 from 9 am “, indicates a press release sent to AFP. The trial will be relocated “In the Ouaga 2000 banquet hall” and will be “Public”, specifies the text.
In mid-April, the case was referred to the Ouagadougou military court after the confirmation of charges against the main defendants, including ex-President Blaise Compaoré, 34 years after the death of the Burkinabe “father of the revolution”. Besides Mr. Compaoré, twelve other defendants will be tried for “attack on the security of the State”, “complicity in assassinations” and “complicity in the concealment of corpses”.
“Many accused have died”
Among these defendants are General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the main army chiefs during the 1987 putsch, who later became Blaise Compaoré’s chief of staff, as well as soldiers from the former presidential guard. General Diendéré is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for an attempted coup in 2015. More people were initially implicated, but “Many accused died”, according to civil party lawyers.
Coming to power in a coup in 1983, President Sankara was killed by a commando on October 15, 1987 at the age of 37, during a putsch that brought to power his then comrade in arms, Blaise Compaoré. The death of Sankara, who became a Pan-African figure and nicknamed the “African Che”, was a taboo subject during the twenty-seven years in power of Mr. Compaoré, himself overthrown by a popular insurrection in 2014.
The affair was revived after the fall of Mr. Compaoré by the democratic transition regime. An arrest warrant was issued against him by the Burkinabe justice in March 2016. In February 2020, a first reconstruction of Sankara’s assassination took place at the scene of the crime, at the headquarters of the National Council of the Revolution, in Ouagadougou. Blaise Compaoré lives in Ivory Coast, where he fled after his fall and from which he obtained his nationality. Unless he appears voluntarily before his judges, he should be tried in absentia.