Mali


    Unchecked Abuses by the Malian Army, according to HRW
    08.09.17
    HRW

     Mali and Burkina Faso military operations to counter the growing presence of Islamist armed groups in central Mali have resulted in serious human rights violations. Since late 2016, Malian forces have committed extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary arrests against men accused of supporting Islamist armed groups, while a June 2017 cross-border operation by Burkinabe forces left two suspects dead. Human Rights Watch documented three common graves believed to contain the remains of at least 14 men executed after being detained by Malian soldiers since...

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    Week in Review: Focus on reparations
    21.08.17
    François Sergent (JusticeInfo.net)

    The week in transitional justice was marked by the International Criminal Court’s decision on reparations to be paid following the 2012 destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali.  The sum awarded ( 2.7 million Euros) is symbolic and the convict Ahmed Al Mahdi is indigent. But the International Criminal Court (ICC) intends to stress through this decision how serious is destruction of cultural and religious monuments, for victims and for the whole international community. During his trial a year ago, Al Mahdi was found guilty of supervising attacks on nine mausoleums in the “city of 333...

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    Malian Jihadist ordered to pay 2.7 million Euros in reparations to Timbuktu victims
    18.08.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) handed down on Thursday August 17 their reparations order for the victims of Ahmed Al Mahdi. Al Mahdi, who has been convicted by the Court, pleaded guilty to war crimes for the destruction of nine mausoleums and the main gate of the Sidi Yahia mosque in Timbuktu during the occupation of northern Mali in 2012 by Jihadists of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) and Ansar Eddine.  As well as telling of the crimes committed in Timbuktu in 2012, Al-Mahdi’s case before the ICC was especially about punishing those who destroy cultural heritage. ...

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    ICC to award damages for jihadist Timbuktu destruction
    14.08.17
    AFP

    War crimes judges will Thursday hand down a landmark ruling on reparations for the razing of Timbuktu's fabled shrines, but the victims' fund which is to implement the order warned it will not be easy. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed for nine years in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to directing attacks on the UNESCO world heritage site during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012. Judges ruled last September that Mahdi "supervised the destruction and gave instructions to the attackers" who used pickaxes and bulldozers to hack apart some of the city's most ancient...

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    Constitutional row divides pre-election Mali
    19.07.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    In Mali, the opposition and part of civil society are up in arms against a government plan to revise the Constitution. Opponents of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta accuse him of having concocted the new text to ensure he is re-elected in polls due next year. For the past month, the Malian opposition and authorities have been in a stand-off. Each side is baring its teeth. The cause is a proposed revision of the current Constitution, which has been in place since February 1992. The government of President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta (IBK) says the constitutional revision is part of implementing...

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    Mali’s opposition regrets armed groups not in new government
    14.04.17
    JusticeInfo's Ephrem Rugiririza with Studio Tamani in Bamako

    On April 11, less than a week after his appointment by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Mali’s new Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga published the names of his government team. The opposition had hoped after the recent Conference of National Understanding for a widely representative government, but was disappointed. It regrets that the armed groups, necessary partners for pacification of the North, are not represented in the new government.   The new government team has 35 ministers, which is four more than the previous one. Several key portfolios, such as Finance and Foreign Affairs,...

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    Gao attack highlights fragility of Mali peace process
    23.01.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, with Mamadou Ben Chérif Diabaté and Studio Tamani in Bamako

    The target of January 18’s terrorist attack in Gao, northern Mali, was highly symbolic: a camp housing members of the Malian armed forces and various armed groups who used to fight each other. The attack left dozens dead in this pilot camp where former enemies were learning to live and work together to implement the Algiers peace accord. It is a tough blow for Mali’s already fragile peace process. According to the UN, application of the agreement signed 18 months ago is complicated by the lack of trust that persists between the parties. Some 60 people were killed in the attack, according to...

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    Hopes for justice in Mali after start of coup-leader’s trial
    16.12.16
    Mamadou Ben Chérif Diabaté in Bamako

    In Mali, civil society hopes the trial of the 2012 coup leader Amadou Haya Sanogo which opened on November 30 will pave the way for independent justice and an end to impunity. Sanogo and and 17 others are accused in connection with the massacre of 21 “Red Berets” who attempted a counter-coup after Sanogo seized power from President Amadou Toumani Touré in 2012. The trial is highly symbolic, even if it will not get properly under way until next year.  At the time of the coup on March 22, 2012, Amadou Haya Sanogo had only the rank of Captain in an army where there were many more senior...

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    Mali: ‘Red Berets’ Trial Marks Progress in Tackling Impunity
    30.11.16
    Human Rights Watch

    (Dakar) – The trial of the leader of the 2012 coup in Mali, Gen. Amadou Haya Sanogo, and 17 co-defendants, including other members of the Malian army, is set to begin on November 30, 2016, in the southern Malian town of Sikasso. The defendants are accused of the 2012 abduction and killing of 21 elite “Red Berets,” who were detained and forcibly disappeared between April 30 and May 1, 2012, after being accused of involvement in an April 30 counter-coup against Sanogo and his loyalists. The following statement is from Corinne Dufka, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch: “The...

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    Week in Review: Historic peace deal in Colombia, historic judgment at the ICC
    02.10.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    For the first time in international criminal justice, an accused person was convicted, on September 27, for destruction of cultural and religious heritage.  The day before saw another historic event as the Colombian government and Marxist rebels of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a peace deal to end half a century of armed conflict.  Dressed in immaculate white shirts and all smiles, Colombian President Juan Manual Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño (alias Timoleon Timochenko) shook hands, to the acclaim of regional leaders including Cuban President Raul Castro,...

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    Malian Jihadist gets nine years for destroying Timbuktu mausoleums
    27.09.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) on September 27 sentenced Malian Jihadist Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi to nine years in jail after he pleaded guilty to destruction of historic monuments in Timbuktu as a war crime. The ICC Prosecutor had requested a prison sentence of between 9 and 11 years, but the judges chose the lower option. “Even if inherently grave, crimes against property are generally of less gravity than crimes against persons,” said presiding judge Raul Pangalangan.  Based on expert testimonies, Timbuktu is a symbolic place that plays a special role in Islam for the region, the...

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    Malian jihadist jailed for Timbuktu attacks
    27.09.16
    AFP

    War crimes judges jailed a Malian jihadist Tuesday for nine years for demolishing Timbuktu's fabled shrines, a landmark ruling seen as a warning that destroying mankind's heritage will not go unpunished. In the first such case to focus on cultural destruction as a war crime, the International Criminal Court found Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi guilty of directing attacks on the UNESCO world heritage site during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012. Mahdi "supervised the destruction and gave instructions to the attackers" who took pickaxes and bulldozers to the centuries-old shrines,...

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    The week in review : Malian jihadist’s trial cut short, disillusion in the CAR and hope for Colombia
    29.08.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The week in transitional justice was marked by the trial before the International Criminal Court of Malian jihadist Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi, accused of having destroyed nine mausoleums in Timbuktu, the “city of 333 saints”. For the first time in the ICC’s history, destruction of cultural heritage is recognized as a war crime, and for the first time also an accused person has pleaded guilty. “Cultural heritage should bring people together rather than tearing them apart,” Marc-André Renold, Director of the Art-Law Centre at the University of Geneva, told JusticeInfo in an interview. “In a...

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    ICC cuts Timbuktu mausoleum trial short
    25.08.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) wrapped up in three days the trial of Malian former Jihadist Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi, who faces one charge of war crimes for destruction of historic and religious buildings in Timbuktu in June and July 2012.  The Accused pleaded guilty, asked victims for forgiveness and is cooperating with the Prosecutor. The verdict is expected on September 27.  The judges have five weeks to deliberate and pronounce the sentence, which should be “just and firm”, prosecutors said on Wednesday. They called for a prison sentence of between 9 and 11 years that would...

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    Malian Jihadist who destroyed holy sites tells his story
    23.08.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    Malian former Jihadist Ahmed Al Mahdi pleaded guilty on Monday as his trial opened at the International Criminal Court (ICC). He faces a single war crimes charge for the destruction of nine mausoleums and part of the Sidi Yahia mosque during the occupation of Timbuktu by Jihadist groups between April 2012 and January 2013. He could face up 30 years in jail. “I plead guilty,” said Al Mahdi as he embarked on his explanations at the trial opening. He told the court he was doing so with “great regret and pain” because all the Prosecutor’s allegations were correct. Yes, he oversaw the...

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    “Destruction of Cultural Heritage” At Heart of Mali Trial
    18.08.16
    Stéphanie Maupas

    The trial of Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi, known as Abu Tourab, is to open on Monday August 22 at the International Criminal Court (ICC). This Ansar Dine militiaman was head of the Islamic morality brigade during the occupation of Timbuktu, northern Mali, from April 2012 to January 2013. He is accused of war crimes for the destruction of nine mausoleums in the “City of 333 Saints” and the entrance to the Sidi Yahia mosque. Al Mahdi has said he will plead guilty. The ICC Prosecutor has limited the charges to destruction of cultural property, giving the case symbolic significance. Marc-André Renold,...

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    Ahmad Al-Faqi al-Mahdi, Islamic enforcer of Timbuktu
    19.08.16
    AFP

    Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi, whose war crime trial in The Hague opens on Monday, is a quiet Koranic scholar turned ruthless enforcer for jihadists when they occupied the fabled Malian city of Timbuktu. Born around 40 years ago in Agoune, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Timbuktu, the curly-haired former teacher was steeped in Islamic learning from a young age. He fast became a fervent proponent of the strictest interpretations of Islamic law, which had little popular support in Mali, but his chance came when jihadists descended on Timbuktu in April 2012. Mahdi was soon recruited by the Islamist group Ansar Dine as "the most competent and prominent person in Timbuktu when it came to being...

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    Five things to know about Mali's holy sites
    19.08.16
    AFP

    The trial of a Malian jihadist charged with war crimes for orchestrating the 2012 destruction of nine Timbuktu mausoleums and a section of a famous mosque resumes Monday at the International Criminal Court (ICC). How did the monuments come to be considered important and why were they destroyed? Who built the mausoleums? The mausoleums of Muslim saints located in Timbuktu's cemeteries and mosques date back to the ancient caravan city's golden age in the 15th and 16th centuries as an economic, intellectual and spiritual centre. Some date back as far as the 14th century. The construction of the original tombs of Muslim saints was undertaken by anonymous groups of family members or...

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    After the North, Violence Hits Central Mali
    26.07.16
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    Mali is struggling to implement the peace and reconciliation accord reached a year ago to restore peace and security particularly in the north of the country. And as if that were not enough, the central region, long spared from the violence endemic in the north, has in recent months seen a sort of insurrection the army is struggling to control. This situation poses a threat to a transitional justice process that has hardly begun. In Kidal, northern Mali, cohabitation remains very difficult between two armed groups that signed the Algiers peace accord. The latest clashes between former...

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    Syria, Mali and “Cultural Cleansing” as a Weapon of War
    18.06.16
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    With Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi due to go on trial in two months at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for destroying tombs in Timbuktu, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova came to The Hague to urge protection of world heritage. Bokova says this is not just a matter of “bricks and mortar” but an urgent need linked to humanitarian and security crises. In August 2014, after meeting in northern Iraq with Yezidis – a minority targeted by Islamic State –, the UNESCO Director-General coined the phrase “cultural cleansing”. It sums up the campaign of this Bulgarian diplomat who heads the UN’s...

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