Mali / Civil society welcomes transfer of Timbuktu crimes suspect Al Hassan to ICC

Residents of Timbuktu pass by Djingareyber Mosque. UN Photo/Marco Dorm
Malian Coalition for the ICC
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The Malian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (M-CICC), in accordance with its mandate to fight against impunity, welcomes the bold action of the Malian authorities, and congratulates them for having surrendered Mr. Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud to the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 2012 and 2013 in Timbuktu, Mali.

Al Hassan is purported to have taken part in the destruction of mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu. Additionally, he allegedly participated in instating a policy of forced marriage, victimizing female citizens of Timbuktu, which resulted in repeated rapes and the diminution of women and young girls to sex slaves.

These sexual crimes, and crimes of a sexist nature, widely recognized as crimes against humanity, should not go unpunished—in the name of peace, and for peace.

The M-CICC strongly appeals to Malian civil society to mobilize in a concerted effort towards the fight against impunity.

The M-CICC urges the Government of Mali to continue to persevere in the fight against impunity, as outlined in the Agreement for Peace and National Reconciliation of Alger.

The M-CICC invites the international community to support the Government of Mali to succeed in its process towards Peace and National Reconciliation, fighting against impunity for crimes committed on our territory.

Mama Koite Doumbia, President, Mali Coalition for the ICC

Bamako, 4 April 2018

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Background:  According to the arrest warrant, Mr Al Hassan, a Malian national born on 19 September 1977 in the community of Hangabera, about 10 kilometres north of Goundam in the region of Timbuktu, Mali, and belonging to the Tuareg/Tamasheq tribe Kel Ansar, was a member of Ansar Eddine and de facto chief of Islamic police. He is also alleged to have been involved in the work of the Islamic court in Timbuktu and to have participated in executing its decisions. Mr Al Hassan is further alleged to have taken part in the destruction of the mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu using Islamic police forces in the field, and to have participated in the policy of forced marriages which victimized the female inhabitants of Timbuktu and led to repeated rapes and the sexual enslavement of women and girls.

The Chamber is satisfied that the evidence submitted by the Prosecution provides reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Al Hassan is criminally responsible under article 25(3)(a) or 25(3)(b) of the Rome Statute for crimes against humanity (torture, rape and sexual slavery; persecution of the inhabitants of Timbuktu on religious and gender grounds; and other inhumane acts) and for war crimes (rape and sexual slavery; violence to person and outrages upon personal dignity; attacks intentionally directed against buildings dedicated to religion and historic monuments; and the passing of sentences without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable) committed in Timbuktu, Mali, between April 2012 and January 2013. ICC press release.