The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi
Today, 26 September 2015, Mr Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi (Abu Tourab), was surrendered to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the authorities of Niger and arrived at the Court's Detention Centre in the Netherlands. Mr Al Faqi is suspected, according to an ICC arrest warrant issued on 18 September 2015, of war crimes allegedly committed in Timbuktu, Mali, between about 30 June 2012 and 10 July 2012, through intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion and/or historical monuments. This is the first case to be brought before the ICC concerning the destruction of buildings dedicated to religion and historical monuments.
The ICC Registrar, Herman von Hebel, thanked the authorities of Niger and of the host State, the Netherlands, for their cooperation in this matter.
According to the warrant of arrest issued by ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an armed conflict of non-international character began in January 2012 and was still ongoing in Mali throughout the period of the alleged facts, which all took place in Timbuktu. Throughout this period, the city would have been under the control of armed groups, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb ("AQIM") and Ansar Eddine, a mainly Tuareg movement associated with AQIM. Mr Al Faqi, born in Agoune, 100 kilometers west of Timbuktu, Mali, from the Ansar Tuareg tribe, was an active personality in the context of the occupation of Timbuktu. He was a member of Ansar Eddine, working closely with the leaders of the two armed groups and in the context of the structures and institutions established by them. It is alleged that, until September 2012, he was at the head of the "Hesbah" ("Manners' Brigade"), operational from May 2012. He was also associated with the work of the Islamic Court of Timbuktu and has participated in executing its decisions. Specifically, it is alleged that he was involved in the destruction of the buildings mentioned in the charges.
The Chamber found that the evidence presented by the Prosecutor establish 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 alleged by the Prosecutor regarding intentionally directing attacks against the following buildings: 1) the mausoleum Sidi Mahmoud Ben Omar Mohamed Aquit, 2) the mausoleum Sheikh Mohamed Mahmoud Al Arawani, 3) the mausoleum Sheikh Sidi Mokhtar Ben Sidi Muhammad Ben Sheikh Alkabir, 4) the mausoleum Alpha Moya, 5) the mausoleum Sheikh Sidi Ahmed Ben Amar Arragadi, 6) the mausoleum Sheikh Muhammad El Micky, 7) the mausoleum Cheick Abdoul Kassim Attouaty, 8) the mausoleum Ahamed Fulane, 9) the mausoleum Bahaber Babadié, and 10) Sidi Yahia mosque.
The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi is the first in the context of the ICC Prosecutor's investigation regarding the situation in Mali. The situation in Mali was referred to the Court by the government of Mali on 13 July 2012. On 16 January 2013, the Prosecutor opened an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012.
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