ICC convicts Mali militant of war crimes


The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Jue 26┬áconvicted┬áal-Qaeda-linked militant leader al-Hassan ag-Abdoul Aziz ag-Mohamed ag-Mahmoud of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in terrorizing the civilian population of the Malian city of Timbuktu.┬áThe charges against al-Hassan stem from his time as de facto leader of the Islamic Police, an unofficial enforcement body established by armed Islamist groups when they controlled the city between 2012 and 2013. The group patrolled the city day and night, imposing harsh new rules that severely restricted daily life. The force imposed extreme punishments, including flogging and amputation, for such perceived violations of Islamic law as extramarital relations, alcohol consumption, and smoking. The Court found that al-Hassan played a “key role” in the Islamic Police throughout the period of control of Timbuktu by Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The ICC took al-Hassan into custody in April 2018. In February 2020,┬áthe ICC unanimously rejected his challenge to the charges as┬ánot severe enough to justify the Court’s action.┬áHis trial began in July 2020.

Al-Hassan faces up to life in prison when sentencing is determined at a later date. According to an ICC press release, both parties to the case are entitled to appeal the verdict within 30 days.

From Jurist, June 27. Used with permission.

Note: The International Criminal Court has meanwhile unsealed an arrest warrant for Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, AKA Abou Fadl. Originally issued under seal in 2017, it charges him with crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery and persecution of women and girls on gender grounds. (AP)

The conviction of al-Hassan marks six convictions for war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide by the ICC, but one of those was overturned on appeal.

Map: PCL