Statement: 1 December 2016

Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on the occasion of the opening of the trial against Amadou Haya Sanogo and other suspects before the Malian judicial system: “Complementarity is central to the Rome Statute system”

In the context of the referral by the Malian authorities on 13 July 2012 of the situation in the Republic of Mali, my Office initiated an investigation which led to a warrant of arrest being issued in September 2015 against Mr Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi.

On 27 September 2016, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") seized of the matter found Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime of directing attacks against historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion in Timbuktu. He was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for these serious crimes.

In accordance with the Rome Statute, my Office remains firmly committed to the situation in the Republic of Mali and will continue to do all it can within its mandate and means to ensure perpetrators of crimes under ICC jurisdiction do not go unpunished and that the victims attain justice they so rightly deserve.

The goal of ending impunity in Mali can best be achieved with the combined efforts of the Court and the national authorities. Indeed, complementarity is central to the Rome Statute system. In this regard, I take note of the efforts of the Malian authorities resulting in the trial which opened yesterday in Sikasso in the national courts against Mr Amadou Haya Sanogo and other accused individuals for crimes committed in the context of the situation in Mali.

I encourage Mali to continue its efforts to fight against impunity for serious crimes.  I recall that the ICC has ongoing jurisdiction in relation to the situation in Mali and is presently continuing its investigative activities into the situation. In the spirit of complementarity, my Office is also ready to offer assistance in support of the efforts of the national judicial authorities, as required, within the parameters of its mandate to continue fostering genuine national proceedings for ICC crimes in Mali.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting investigations in: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Sudan, the Central African Republic (two separate investigations), Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan, Burundi, the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia, Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq/UK, Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.

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Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]