Fatou Bensouda today formally opened an investigation into alleged
crimes committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012. This
decision is the result of the preliminary examination of the Situation
in Mali that the Office had been conducting since July 2012.
“Since the beginning of the armed
conflict in January 2012, the people of Northern Mali have been living
in profound turmoil” said Prosecutor Bensouda. “At each stage during the
conflict, different armed groups have caused havoc and human suffering
through a range of alleged acts of extreme violence. I have determined
that some of these deeds of brutality and destruction may constitute war
crimes as defined by the Rome Statute”
Following the referral of the
Situation in Mali by the Malian State, the Office may investigate and
prosecute any crime within the ICC jurisdiction committed on the
territory of Mali since January 2012. In the course of the preliminary
examination, the Office has identified potential cases of sufficient
gravity to warrant further action.
Prosecutor Bensouda has determined
that there is a reasonable basis to believe the following crimes were
committed: (i) murder; (ii) mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(iii) intentionally directing attacks against protected objects; (iv)
the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without
previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court; (v)
pillaging, and (vi) rape.
“My Office will ensure a thorough and impartial
investigation and will bring justice to Malian victims by investigating
who are the most responsible for these alleged crimes”.
Based on the information gathered
to date, the investigation will focus on crimes committed in the three
northern regions of Mali.
“There is still turmoil in North
Mali and populations there continue to be at risk of yet more violence
and suffering” said Prosecutor Bensouda. “Justice can play its part in
supporting the joint efforts of the ECOWAS, the AU and the entire
international community to stop the violence and restore peace to the
region. Key regional and international organizations have acknowledged
the need for justice as part of the resolution of the crisis in Mali.
The international crimes committed in Mali have deeply shocked the
conscience of humanity.”