Ruling on Burkina Faso journalist’s murder lauded

June 9, 2015 10:33 am
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The June 5 ruling ordered Burkina Faso authorities to resume investigations on the murder with a view of finding the killers and charge them in court/FILE
The June 5 ruling ordered Burkina Faso authorities to resume investigations on the murder with a view of finding the killers and charge them in court/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – Reporters without Borders has hailed the recent ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights in the case of Norbert Zongo, a Burkina Faso newspaper editor murdered with three others in 1998.

The June 5 ruling ordered Burkina Faso authorities to resume investigations on the murder with a view of finding the killers and charge them in court.

The court further ordered the State to pay a compensation of Sh4.1 million to the spouses of each of the four victims, Sh2.5 million to each of their children and Sh1.6 million to each of their parents.

The head of the reporters’ body Cléa Kahn-Sriber while describing the ruling as historic says there is now hope that the victims of the heinous killings will now get justice.

“This ruling constitutes a major turning-point in the Zongo case, which has suffered appallingly from the impunity tolerated for all these years by Burkina Faso’s justice system,” he said.

“This puts additional pressure on the authorities to keep the promises of justice initially given at the time of the November 2014 political transition.”

The Zongo murder investigation was closed in 2006, without any one being found guilty, in a decision that outraged civil society and human rights defenders.

At the time he was looking into the murder of the driver of Francois Compaore, the brother of then President Blaise Compaore.

“The reparations demanded for the families of the victims are an acknowledgment of the suffering they endured. We hope the authorities will seize this opportunity to redress an injustice that has lasted for too long,” Sriber said.

The Zongo murder investigation was closed in 2006, without any one being found guilty, in a decision that outraged civil society and human rights defenders.

READ: African court orders Burkina to reopen journalist’s murder case

After President Compaore was ousted last November, transitional President Michel Kafando announced that steps would be taken to combat impunity, raising hopes that the Zongo case would be quickly reopened.

An investigating judge was appointed but no tangible progress has been seen since then.

Under the ruling, the government now has six months to submit a report on the progress achieved in the Zongo case.

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