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France Cancels François Compaoré’s Extradition Decree

The Chancellery announced on Thursday that France has withdrawn the ministerial directive permitting the extradition of Paul François Compaoré, the brother of former president Blaise Compaoré, to Burkina Faso in 2020. There, he faces charges related to the 1998 death of a journalist.

The Paris Court of Appeal extradition chamber president declared, “The decree was repealed on December 13,” during a hearing on Wednesday about the lifting of Mr. Compaoré’s judicial supervision, which was ordered in 2017 as part of the extradition process.

As stated by the Ministry of Justice, the revocation of Mr. Compaoré’s extradition “followed the ruling of the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) on 7 September 2023, which found a violation of Article 3 in the event of the applicant’s extradition to Burkina Faso”. Torture and cruel, barbaric, or degrading treatment or punishment are forbidden under this provision of the European Convention on Human Rights.

According to two people familiar with the situation, the repeal decree, which was signed by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, is an uncommon action. The attorneys for Mr. Compaoré, Pierre-Olivier Sur and Clara Gérard-Rodriguez, declined to comment.

The assassination of investigative journalist Norbert Zongo and three men who were with him on December 13, 1998, is being prosecuted in Burkina Faso. Paul François Compaoré is the younger brother of the former president of Burkina Faso (1991–2014) and one of his close advisors.

On October 29, 2017, he was taken into custody at Roissy airport, which is close to Paris, pursuant to an international arrest order that Ouagadougou had filed.

Burkina had requested his extradition from France and had later guaranteed that, should an independent court sentence Mr. Compaoré to death, the sentence would not be executed. Mr. Compaoré, a French national, was released on 30 October 2017 under judicial supervision. He has filed many appeals.

In 2018, the courts granted permission for his extradition; in 2020, a ministerial directive was signed; and in 2021, the Council of State ratified it. But on September 7, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), representing the defense of Mr. Compaoré, declared that France ought to review the decision.

The head of the extradition chamber stated, “The context has changed,” alluding to the nation’s two subsequent coups d’état in 2022. Paul François Compaoré, dressed in a navy blue suit, declined to speak during the quick hearing.

“Mr. Compaoré has constantly contested his extradition,” which entailed “serious risks for his fundamental rights,” according to his attorney, Clara Gérard-Rodriguez.

She said, “He no longer has any proceedings underway” and that there was no reason to put him under court supervision.

Following Captain Ibrahim Traoré’s coup d’état in September 2022, relations between France and Burkina Faso have significantly worsened.

Written by PH

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