Reparations for destroyed Timbuktu shrines

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Aug. 17 found (PDF) that a former Malian jihadist militant is liable for individual and collective reparations for overseeing the destruction of Muslim shrines in Timbuktu. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was found liable for 2.7 million euros in expenses. In its order, the ICC stressed the importance of cultural heritage:

Because of their purpose and symbolism, most cultural property and cultural heritage are unique and of sentimental value. As a result, they are not fungible or readily replaceable. The destruction of international cultural heritage thus “carries a message of terror and helplessness; it destroys part of humanity’s shared memory and collective consciousness; and it renders humanity unable to transmit its values and knowledge to future generations”. It is an irreplaceable loss that negates humanity.

The court noted that al-Mahdi is indigent and encouraged the Trust Funds for Victims to complement the reparations award and submit a draft implementation plan by next February.

Al-Mahdi admitted his guiltĀ  when his trial began last August. He was sentenced in September to nine years in prison. This was an historic case, marking the first time the ICC has tried and convicted someone for committing the war crime of demolishing religious buildings and historical monuments.

From Jurist, Aug. 17. Used with permission.

  1. ICC reduces sentence of Mali jihadist

    A panel of the International Criminal CourtĀ reduced by two years the nine-year sentence of Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, convicted of a war crime for destroying religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu in 2012.

    Allegedly a member of Ansar Dine, a UNSC-sanctioned militant outfit associated with al-Qaeda, al-Mahdi was the head of the “Hisbah”Ā (a body set up to uphold public morals and prevent vice) and associated with the Islamic Court in Timbuktu. In 2016, the Trial Chamber of the ICC convictedĀ al-Mahdi for attacking 10 “protected objects,” meaningĀ buildings of a religious and historical character, in June and July 2012.

    While the time he spent in detention since 2015 was already deducted from his sentence, the panel ordered a further reduction based on hisĀ admission of guilt and “continuing willingness to cooperate.”Ā (Jurist)