Extradition of murderer suspect, François Compaoré to Burkina Faso suspended by EU Court

François Compaoré's extradition to Burkina Faso suspended Photo /AFP

On Friday, 06/08/2021, the European Court of Human Rights suspended the extradition from France to Burkina Faso of François Compaoré, brother of deposed president Blaise Compaoré. He is implicated in the 1998 murder of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo.

While the Council of State had validated his extradition, François Compoaré learned that the European Court of Human Rights had suspended the extradition from France to Burkina Faso on Friday.

"The Court has decided to indicate to the French government, under Rule 39" of the ECHR rules governing "interim measures", that Mr Compaoré "should not be extradited to Burkina Faso during the proceedings before the Court", the Council of Europe's legal arm said in a terse statement.

The Court's interim measures "apply only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable damage," the ECHR stressed, insisting that they "do not prejudge its subsequent decisions on the admissibility or merits of the cases in question.

François Compaoré's lawyers, François-Henri Briard and Pierre-Olivier Sur welcomed in a statement an "independent and impartial decision". "The Court's position, which now protects Paul François Compaoré from the inhuman and degrading treatment to which he was exposed and ensures him a fair trial, is in stark contrast to the statements of the President of the French Republic, the opinion of the Paris Court of Appeal, the decision of the Court of Cassation and the decision of the French Council of State, (...) which were unfortunately unanimous in approving this extradition measure," they added.

The French Council of State last Friday approved the extradition of Mr Compaoré, 67, to Burkina Faso, but his lawyers had referred the case to the ECHR "so that it could block the planned extradition". The Strasbourg-based Court had given Paris until Tuesday evening to provide guarantees that he would not be tortured.

Three ex-soldiers are already charged in the case of
Norbert Zongo, the author of several high-profile investigations exposing bad governance under the Compaoré regime, who was killed alongside three of his companions. The four bodies were found burnt in the south of Burkina Faso.

Norbert Zongo was killed alongside three of his companions. The four bodies were found burnt in the south of Burkina Faso.File Photo 1998.

In June 2019, the French Court of Cassation rejected François Compaoré's appeal against his extradition to Ouagadougou, where the case of the journalist's murder, which was closed in 2006 after a "dismissal" in favour of the only defendant, was reopened following the fall of Blaise Compaoré.

François Compaoré was arrested at Roissy airport in Paris in October 2017, in the execution of an arrest warrant issued by the authorities in Ouagadougou. But to date, he has not been charged in his country, unlike three former soldiers of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), the former Praetorian Guard of Blaise Compaoré.

Published/Updated 09/09/[email protected]:02AM