France cancels the extradition decree of François Compaoré to Burkina Faso

France on December 13 canceled the 2020 ministerial decree authorizing the extradition of François Compaoré, brother of former President Blaise Compaoré, to Burkina Faso, where he is accused of the 1998 assassination of a journalist, Agence France-Presse learned on Thursday, December 21, from the chancellery

France cancels the extradition decree of François Compaoré to Burkina Faso

France on December 13 canceled the 2020 ministerial decree authorizing the extradition of François Compaoré, brother of former President Blaise Compaoré, to Burkina Faso, where he is accused of the 1998 assassination of a journalist, Agence France-Presse learned on Thursday, December 21, from the chancellery.

The repeal of the extradition of Mr. Compaoré “came following the judgment of the ECHR [European Court of Human Rights] of September 7, 2023 which found a violation of Article 3 in case of extradition of the applicant to Burkina Faso", summarizes the Ministry of Justice. This article of the European Convention on Human Rights states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The repeal decree, signed by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, is a rare act.

Mr. Compaoré's lawyers, Clara Gérard-Rodriguez and Pierre-Olivier Sur, did not wish to speak following this decision.

François Compaoré, younger brother of the ex-president (1987-2014) and one of his close advisors, is being prosecuted in Burkina Faso for the assassination of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo and three men who accompanied him, on December 13, 1998. He was arrested on October 29, 2017 at Roissy airport in execution of an international arrest warrant issued by Ouagadougou.

“The context has changed”

Burkina Faso had requested his extradition from France, subsequently ensuring that, even if he was sentenced to death, the sentence would not be carried out. Released under judicial supervision on October 30, 2017, Mr. Compaoré, who lives in France, has increased his appeals.

Justice had authorized his extradition in 2018, then a ministerial decree was signed in 2020, validated by the Council of State in 2021. But the ECHR, seized by Mr. Compaoré's defense, ruled on September 7 that France had to re-examine this decree.

“The context has changed,” noted, during a hearing on Wednesday, the president of the extradition chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal, referring to the two successive coups that the country experienced in 2022 Dressed in a navy blue suit, Mr. Compaoré did not wish to speak during this brief hearing. “Mr. Compaoré continually challenged his extradition” which entailed “serious risks for his fundamental rights,” recalled his lawyer, Me Clara Gérard-Rodriguez. “He no longer has any proceedings pending” and there is no justification for his placement under judicial supervision, she added.

Relations between France and Burkina have deteriorated considerably since Captain Ibrahim Traoré came to power in September 2022 through a coup.