IFJ Calls for Justice for Norbert Zongo 8 Years after His Assassination in Burkina Faso

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the government of Burkina Faso to reopen the eight-year-old murder case of Norbert Zongo, a journalist who is believed to have been killed for his investigative reporting.

The IFJ is calling for justice in the case on the eve of the 8th anniversary of the assassination of the journalist and three companions on December 13, 1998, in Burkina Faso.

In July 2006, Wenceslas Ilboudo the judge in charge of the case dismissed the charges against Marcel Kafando, the only person accused of in the murder of Zongo, an investigative journalist and editor of the newspaper L’independant, his brother Ernest Zongo, his colleague, Blaise Ilboudo and his driver Ablassé Abdoulaye Nikièma.

An Independent Board of Inquiry (CEI) concluded in 1999 that Zongo “was assassinated for purely political reasons.”

The CEI said that the motive for the killing was retaliation for one of Zongo’s investigative articles, most likely his report on the death of David Ouédraogo, the driver for the President’s brother.

Zongo revealed in his last investigative article that Ouédraogo, driver for the President’s brother François Compaoré, died after being tortured for stealing something.

“On the eve of the commemoration of this tragic December 13 for the African press, we express our solidarity with the family of Norbert Zongo and the other victims of this cowardly and base crime,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We call on the Burkinabé government to reopen the case and make a serious investigation.”

The IFJ is supporting the efforts of various groups in Burkina Faso who are trying to bring those responsible for this killing to justice. The Association of the Journalists of Burkina Faso, the Collective of the Democratic Organizations of Mass and Political Parties of Burkina Faso and the Burkinabé Movement of Human Rights and the People, are calling for justice in this case and the conviction of the killer or killers.

“In spite of the intentional blindness of the Burkinabé justice system, we must continue our fight so that President Blaise Compaoré takes serious action in this case in order to put an end to impunity for Zongo’s killer,” Baglo said.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries