Ivory Coast citizenship for Burkina leader

  • 25/02/2016
Blaise Compaore (AAP)
Blaise Compaore (AAP)

Ivory Coast says it has granted citizenship to Burkina Faso's former president Blaise Compaore, potentially dashing hopes he could be extradited to his neighbouring native country for his role in a high-profile murder case.

Burkina Faso issued an arrest warrant against Compaore in December for the murder of former president and military leader Thomas Sankara, who was assassinated 30 years ago in a case that has famously gone unsolved.

The body of Sankara, sometimes called "Africa's Che Guevara", was exhumed in 2015 and an autopsy found it to be riddled with bullets.

The naturalisation decree, published in the Ivory Coast's official journal for January, accorded Compaore and his son Paul Francois Ivoirian citizenship.

"It is a sovereign naturalisation decision that took place," said Affoussiata Bamba, the government spokeswoman. "It is not necessary to judge what will come next."

Ivory Coast's constitution forbids extradition of its citizens, according to a high-level jurist.

Former Ivoirian president Laurent Gbagbo is currently standing trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity under an agreement signed with the International Criminal Court but Ivory Coast has no such arrangement with its neighbour.