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September 26, 2015

Saturday, September 26, 2015 - , No comments

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi Surrendered to the International Criminal Court at the Hague on Heritage War Crime Charges for Destruction of Historic Monuments in Timbuktu

In a case setting precedence Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, also known as Abu Tourab, is the first suspect to be charged by the Hague's International Criminal Court, the world's only permanent war crimes court, in relation to offenses involving the destruction of religious and historical monuments. 

During 2012 Azawadi forces seized control of northern Mali and used shovels, axes, and automatic weapons to destroy shrines and pilgrimage sites, tied mostly to Islam’s Sufi religious group. In total, 14 important historical sites were damaged in Timbuktu. 

As an alleged member of the Ansar Dine, a Tuareg Islamic extremist militia in North Africa, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, was formally indicted by the International Criminal Court in June 2015 for overseeing the destruction of nine mausoleums and one mosque while heading Hesbah, also referred to as the "Manners' Brigade" which was tasked with carrying out the decisions of the Islamic Court of Timbuktu.

Ruins of the mausoleum of Alfa Moya,
Image Credit 
Eric Feferberg, AFP

The situation in Mali was referred to the Court by the government of Mali on 13 July 2012. On 16 January 2013, the  ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, opened an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Mali as a result of the 2012 uprising. 

Bensouda has stated that the court has established reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Al Faqi is criminally responsible for having committed, individually and jointly with others, facilitated or otherwise contributed to the commission of war crimes by intentionally directing attacks against the following buildings: 

Mausoleum of Ahamed Fulane
Mausoleum of Alpha Moya
Mausoleum of Bahaber BabadiƩ
Mausoleum of Cheick Abdoul Kassim Attouaty
Mausoleum of Sheikh Mohamed Mahmoud Al Arawani
Mausoleum of Sheikh Muhammad El Micky
Mausoleum of Sheikh Sidi Mokhtar Ben Sidi Muhammad Ben Sheikh Alkabir
Mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar
Mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud Ben Omar Mohamed Aquit
Sidi Yahya Mosque

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was surrendered to the court by Niger authorities on Saturday September 26, 2015.   No date was immediately set for his arraignment.  

The full ICC statement on this case can be found here. 

A video statement by the ICC Prosecutor - Fatou Bensouda, can be seen below.