Media Advisory : |

ICC Al Mahdi trial to open on 22 August 2016: Practical information


The trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi is scheduled to open on 22 August 2016 at 09:00 (The Hague local time), at the seat of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague (Netherlands). Mr Al Mahdi is accused of the war crime consisting in the alleged destruction of historical and religious monuments in Timbuktu (Mali), between around 30 June 2012 and 11 July 2012.

The trial will be held before Trial Chamber VIII, composed of Judge Raul C. Pangalangan (Presiding Judge), Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, and Judge Bertram Schmitt. Due to Mr Al Mahdi's announced intentions to make an admission of guilt, the trial is expected to last for about a week, after which the judges will deliberate and in due course pronounce a decision on the guilt or innocence of the accused and the possible sentence. If the accused does not plead guilty at the opening of the trial, the hearings will be reported to another date.

At the opening of the trial, the accused will be read an extract of the confirmed charge against him and will be asked to confirm if he understands it. If an admission of guilt is indeed made as expected, the Chamber will conduct a short inquiry in order to determine whether: (a) the accused understands the nature and consequences of the admission and (b) the admission is voluntarily made after sufficient consultation with Defence counsel.

The Office of the Prosecutor will have three hours to present its case and a maximum of nine hours for the examination of its three witnesses who are staff members or experts. The Legal Representative of victims will then have one hour to present their views and concerns, and the Defence will have a one hour and a half to present submissions. In addition, the judges have agreed that the Defence may request the introduction at a later stage of two Defence witnesses’ statements in writing relating to the possible sentence.

The parties and participants' presentations will cover both topics related to the trial and the possible sentence, since the judgment and the possible sentence will be issued together in due course following the hearings.

Background: On 24 March 2016, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi the war crime charge regarding the destruction of historical and religious monuments in Timbuktu (Mali), and committed Mr Al Mahdi to trial. On 1 March 2016, Mr Al Mahdi explicitly expressed before ICC judges and in the presence of his lawyers, his wish to plead guilty. The warrant of arrest against him was issued by ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I on 18 September 2015 and he was surrendered to the ICC on 26 September 2015. Mr Al Mahdi is in ICC custody.

For more information on this case, click here

Additional materials:

Directions on the Conduct of the Proceedings

Case information sheet

Webstreaming of the hearing          

The proceedings can be followed on the ICC website at: http://video.icc.globecomm.net/

Attending the hearing

  • Members of the diplomatic corps, NGOs and other members of the public can request attendance via email to: [email protected] Attendees must present a valid passport or valid ID with a photo at the main entrance of the Court (at: Oude Waalsdorperweg 10, 2597 AK The Hague).
  • Journalists wishing to cover the hearing can request accreditation via email to: [email protected]. All journalists must present a valid press card, and a valid passport or valid ID with a photo, at the main entrance of the Court (at: Oude Waalsdorperweg 10, 2597 AK The Hague).

Please note that individuals who do not confirm their attendance in advance cannot be guaranteed access to the hearings. In order to avoid delays in accessing the building, those attending are advised to arrive one hour before the hearings start.

ICC Media Centre

For media representatives wishing to use the Court's media facilities, the Media Centre will open at 08:00.

The ICC Media Centre is located in the building's 'Court Tower'. It is composed of hot desk areas, which can sit up to 104 people, and two interview rooms.

The Media Centre distributes the video and embedded audio of the hearing, via HD-SDI with a female BNC connection. Journalists wishing to connect to this should bring compatible equipment and a BNC cable. Power is provided (European plug).

Wi-Fi connection is available in the Media Centre.

AV materials

Filming or photography is strictly prohibited inside the Court building, apart from the interview rooms in the Media Centre.

Images of the hearing will be available for download on an FTP server in video (MPEG-4) and audio (MPEG-3) format, and for viewing on the official ICC YouTube Channel. For information on audio-visual matters, please contact Violeta Willemsen-Curcic, Head of Audio-Visual Production Unit: [email protected]

Parking facilities

Media representatives can use the ICC's Visitor Parking.

SNG vehicles

The ICC Parking includes an area for SNG vehicles. BNC connections are available and the video format is HD-SDI with embedded Audio (8 dual mono pairs): Channel 1 – Floor language (international audio); Channel 2 - English interpretation; Channel 3 - French interpretation; Channel 4 - 8 - Other languages, or if no interpretation then Floor language will be sent.

For further information, please contact Fadi El Abdallah, Spokesperson and Head of Public Affairs Unit, International Criminal Court, by telephone at: +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938 or by e-mail at: [email protected].

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