How does the ICC Al Hassan trial start, and for whom?

Al Hassan, a former member of the Islamic police in Timbuktu, is the second Malian jihadist on trial at the International Criminal Court, six thousand kilometres away from the scene of the war crimes and crimes against humanity he is charged for. In this long podcast, our partners from Asymmetrical Aircuts invited women’s rights expert Georgiana Epuré, who sheds light on the gender charges that the Hague court will have to rule for the first time; and the historian at NIOD Institute Thijs Bouwknegt, who talks about prosecution and defence strategies and wonders, following his latest op-ed for Justice Info, when the trial will get out of its “double quarantine”, and if it is mostly done for Western experts and NGOs. 

How does the ICC Al Hassan trial start, and for whom?
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The second trial of a Malian jihadist is underway at the International Criminal Court. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for what happened in Timbuktu during 2012 to 2013 when Islamic fundamentalists took it over.

Already the court has looked at the destruction of cultural heritage – the city was an ancient centre of Islamic scholarship with extraordinary mosques, shrines of ancient Islamic saints and libraries.

But our two guests told us how much more there is to the al Hassan trial. Women’s rights expert Georgiana Epuré, who joined in her personal capacity, explained about the gender aspects of the charges and how the court will have to rule for the first time on gender-related crimes.

Thijs Bouwknegt, long term trial monitor and historian at NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust & Genocide Studies unpeeled the prosecution and defence strategies so far.

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This podcast has been published as part of a partnership between and Asymmetrical Haircuts, a podcast on international justice produced from The Hague by journalists Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg, who retain full control and independence over the contents of the podcast.