Official Documents -- International Campaign Justice for SANKARA
Victory against Impunity -- A UN precedent and an historic first against impunity in Africa (April 5, 2006)
Victory against Impunity -- A UN precedent and an historic first against impunity in Africa  (April 5, 2006)
Victory against Impunity
A UN precedent and an historic first against impunity in Africa

Montreal, April 5, 2006 - The UN Human Rights Committee has rendered a verdict on the Sankara Affair. Today, the Committee ruled in favour of the International Justice for Sankara Campaign* on behalf of the widow of Thomas Sankara, Mariam, and his children, Auguste and Philippe. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Canadian Louise Arbour, this is an "historic opportunity to improve the protection and promotion of basic freedoms around the world."

Thomas Sankara, the first president of Burkina Faso, a courageous proponent of panfrican, self-directed development, was assassinated in 1987, along with a dozen of his comrades. To this day, however, his death certificate indicates death by natural causes. The Minister of Justice at the time, and the author of this crime, is none other than the current President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré.

Thomas Sankara is widely recognized and celebrated in Africa and the world over as a champion of fundamental change who fought to liberate Africa from the control of international financial institutions, deepening poverty, war and the pillage of its resources.

In 1997, the International Justice for Sankara Campaign initiated legal proceedings in Burkina Faso to bring his assassins to justice. After exhausting all legal recourses in Burkina Faso, and in light of that country 's politically compromised judiciary, on October 15, 2002, the Campaign brought the case before the UN Human Rights Committee.

In a major development, on October 4, 2004, General Tarnue, testifying before the Special International Court for Sierra Leone, alluded to a plot by Blaise Compaoré, the current president of Burkina Faso, and the former rebel leader and Liberian head of state, Charles Taylor, to assassinate Sankara (pp. 84-85). Compaoré was recently re-elected for a third mandate as President, after his regime modified the constitution to allow him to run for a third consecutive mandate. In Burkina Faso, impunity and repression have become the very foundation of the political system, as attested by the number of assassinations, the extent of intimidation of political opponents and deep-rooted corruption.

The Campaign's complaint was based on Burkina's Faso's violation of its commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Protocols.

Simultaneous press conferences with the Campaign's lawyers

in Montréal, Paris and Ouagadougou.

Press Conference

Montréal, Thursday, April 6, 2005, 11 a.m.

Rights & Democracy, 1001 de Maisonneuve Blvd East, Suite 1100.

* Members of the legal collective: Me Dieudonné Nkounkou, Me Jean Abessolo, Me Bibi Barnabe, Me Karim Bensakina, Me Nicole Bobillot-Prévost, Me Ferdinand Djammen Nzeppa (France), Cabinet Sankara-Diallo, Me Prosper Farama (Burkina Faso), Me Milton James Fernandes, Me William Sloan , Me Vincent Valaï. Me Kimon Kling, Me May Chiu, Me Sherley Morin, Me Catherine Gauvreau, Me John Philpot, Me Charles Roach (Canada); Me Devotsou Kofimessa (Togo), Me Aissata Tall Sall (Senegal)

International Justice for Sankara Campaign Against Impunity in Africa!

GRILA (514) 499-3418