Home BURKINA FASO BURKINA FASO – Assassination of Sankara in Burkina Faso: former President Blaise...

BURKINA FASO – Assassination of Sankara in Burkina Faso: former President Blaise Compaoré sentenced to life imprisonment


Opened in October 2021, 34 years after the murder of Thomas Sankara, the verdict of the trial fell on April 6 with the sentencing of former president Blaise Sankara to life imprisonment.

For his participation in the assassination of his predecessor Thomas Sankara, killed with twelve of his companions during a coup in 1987, Blaise Compaoré, now a refugee in Côte d’Ivoire, was sentenced to life imprisonment after a trial that lasted six months.

After several years of investigation and six months of hearing, the verdict of the trial of the alleged murderers of former Burkinabe president Thomas Sankara has finally fallen: besides Blaise Compaoré, the military court of Ouagadougou also sentenced to life the commander of his guard Hyacinthe Kafando and General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the chiefs of the army during the putsch of 1987.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office had requested 30 years in prison against Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando and 20 years against Gilbert Diendéré. As we can see, the court went further. Eight other accused are sentenced to sentences ranging from three years to 20 years in prison. Finally, three defendants were acquitted.

The trial was suspended after the coup d’état of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who overthrew President-elect Roch Marc Christian Kaboré on 24 January, then reinstated by the junta in power. But had once again been disturbed by the swearing-in of Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba before the Constitutional Council on 16 February.

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The defence then filed a motion stressing that convictions were being sought for “attack on the security of the State”, while the putsch of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba, validated by the Constitutional Council, constituted in itself an “attack on the security of the State”. This “enshrines the seizure of power by force as a constitutional mode of devolution of power,” the defense lawyers argued. An argument rejected by the Constitutional Council, allowing the trial to resume.

Captain Thomas Sankara was killed with twelve of his companions by a commando during a meeting at the headquarters of the National Council of Revolution (CNR) in Ouagadougou. He was 37 years old. His murder shocked and traumatized Africa. Compaoré, who succeeded him, remained in power for 27 years, and it took an insurrection that forced him to go into exile for a judicial process to start again, to lead to the trial that closed on April 6, 2022.


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