Rights court orders re-trial of slain Burkinabe journalist, three others

court.jpg-citynewsSIXTEEN years after the death of the slain Burkinabe investigative reporter, Norbert Zongo, justice has come his way following weekend’s judgment of the African Court for Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) which ordered Burkina Faso to re-open the suit into his murder and his three other companions slain along with him.

It also ordered that the Burkinabe government must take over the prosecution of the suit.

The court mandated the government in Ouagadougou to round up all the accomplices in the murder and make them face the full wrath of the law.

The Burkinabe government had in 2006 closed the case file on the excuse of lack of evidence.

The court further ruled that the Burkinabe government must pay a reparation fee of over $1 million to the families of the victims.

The ACHPR, which had earlier in March 2014 carpeted the Burkina government for what it called “failed obligations” to bring to justice the killers of Zongo who was assassinated while investigating the death of the driver of ousted President Blaise Compaoré’s brother, François, also gave a deadline to the applicants to submit their request for reparations.

The case was brought on behalf of the wives and children of Zongo and his companions by the Burkinabe League for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

In its ruling last Friday, the rights court ordered Burkina Faso to also publish, within six months from the date of the judgment, “the French summary of this judgment prepared by the clerk once in the official gazette and once in a widely disseminated national newspaper daily and on the government’s official website for a year.‎”

The eleven judges also ordered the Burkinabe government to pay CFA 25 million to each of the victims’ spouses, CFA 15 million to each of their children and CFA 10 million to each of their mothers.

The government shall also pay the lawyer’s fees of the applicant assessed at about $5,000.

Finally, the court ordered Burkina Faso to “submit within a period of six months a report on the state of implementation of all decisions taken in the present judgment.”

It would be recalled that in 1998, investigative reporter and editor of the weekly L’Indépendant, Zongo and his three companions were found burnt to death in their car about a hundred kilometres from Ouagadougou.

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