Burkina Faso cancels arrest warrant for ousted leader Blaise Compaore

Blaise Compaore

Blaise Compaore

Ouagadougou, April 28, 2016 (AFP) – A top Burkina Faso court on Thursday cancelled an international arrest warrant for ex-president Blaise Compaore who fled the country after a popular uprising in 2014, the prosecutor general in Ouagadougou told AFP. The Court of Cassation also withdrew the arrest warrant for the speaker of parliament in neighbouring Ivory Coast, Guillaume Soro, wanted over a short-lived coup in Burkina last year, Armand Ouedraogo said.

Other international warrants were likewise annulled, all of them because of procedural irregularities, he said. “All the international arrest warrants have today been cancelled by the Court of Cassation on procedural grounds,” Ouedraogo said, adding that the warrants had been issued without first being formally requested by the state prosecution. But he stressed they could be re-instated at any time so long as proper procedure was followed. “These are oversights that can be redressed.”

Compaore has been living in Ivory Coast since he was overthrown in a popular uprising in October 2014 after ruling Burkina Faso with an iron fist for 27 years. Burkinabe authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in December for his alleged role in the mysterious 1987 killing of his comrade, ex-president Thomas Sankara.

Separately, former Ivorian rebel leader and prime minister Soro is wanted by Burkina after telephone wiretaps allegedly revealed he supported a putsch there last September. The attempted coup was staged by crack troops from a presidential guard loyal to Compaore but was thwarted by street protesters and the army, which attacked the plotters’ barracks. At least 11 people were killed and more than 270 were injured in the demonstrations.

The Ivorian government declined to comment on the lifting of Soro’s arrest warrant. “No comment. It’s a decision taken by a sovereign state,” government spokesman Bruno Kone said.

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