Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Burkina Faso20 July 2006

Outrageous denial of justice in the 1998 murder of Norbert Zongo
Reporters Without Borders will continue to campaign alongside all those demanding justice

Reporters Without Borders pledged today to continue campaigning for justice in the 1998 murder of leading independent journalist Norbert Zongo after learning that the judge in charge of the investigation, Wenceslas Ilboudo, has dismissed the case against the only person ever charged.

“This is an outright scandal, a disgrace,” the press freedom organisation said. “After eight years of campaigning, this decision makes the reign of impunity in Burkina Faso official. It is a terrible blow for all those citizens who have ceaselessly demanded to know the truth about this murder.”

Reporters Without Borders continued: “This has always been a highly political case. Zongo was killed by members of the presidential guard. François Compaoré, the brother of President Blaise Compaoré, is implicated. The authorities never stopped protecting the killers. The president has got what he always wanted - injustice.”

The organisation added: “Despite this decision , we will continue to campaign for justice in this case. We will never forget Norbert Zongo and we will press on tirelessly with our campaign alongside his family and friends.”

Judge Ilboudo’s decision to dismiss the case against presidential guard member Marcel Kafando - the only person ever charged with Zongo’s murder - was issued yesterday at the request of the Faso public prosecutor, who claimed there was insufficient evidence against him.

Zongo family lawyer Bénéwendé Sankara said the decision meant the case was now closed and would remain so unless new evidence came to light. He intended to appeal, he added.

Zongo was an investigative journalist and editor of the weekly L’Indépendant. His charred body was found in his car on 13 December 1998. At the time of his death he had been investigating the circumstances in which David Ouédraogo, the chauffeur of President Compaoré’s brother François, died at the hands of members of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) after being arrested on suspicion of stealing from his employer.

Kafando was one of three RSP members who were convicted in August 2000 of kidnapping Ouédraogo and torturing him to death. The public prosecutor charged him in February 2001 with murder and arson in connection Zongo’s death. But despite the gravity of the charges, Kafando was allowed to continue living at his home.



In this country
15 December - Burkina Faso
Police summon heads of ‘collective against impunity’ two days after march on 10th anniversary of journalist’s murder
13 December - Burkina Faso
Protesters rename Ouagadougou avenue after slain journalist on 10th anniversary of murder
12 December - Burkina Faso
Government still trying to cover up truth nine years after newspaper editor’s murder
2 October - Burkina Faso
Arson attack on radio host’s car marks escalation in intimidation campaign
23 January - Burkina Faso
“Total solidarity” with newspaper publisher and editor convicted of libelling president’s brother

in the annual report
Burkina Faso - Annual Report 2007
Burkina Faso - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives
archives

reports
18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election
archives

Sign the petitions
Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists