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ICC Note: The International Criminal Court located at the Hague in the Netherlands has begun the trial of Ahmad al-faqi al-Mahdi, a suspected Islamist extremist, for war crimes during the Islamic uprising of Mali in 2012. According to the charges Mr. Faqi is accused of destroying nine mausoleums and a mosque in Timbuktu while being involved in the “Islamic court of Timbuktu”. Islamist Tuaregs took over the ancient city in 2012 until French forces were able to drive the militant group out. The case is unique as it is the first of its kind for the International Criminal Court to conduct where the charges are destruction of religious buildings and monuments. The Hague hopes the case will deter others from destroying religious sites similar to ISIS which has destroyed hundreds of Christian sites in the Middle East. Islamist Tuaregs have been linked to Boko Haram and other Islamist groups in the region who persecute Christian communities and other religious minorities. 

09/30/2015 Mali (BBC) – A suspected Islamist militant accused of destroying cultural sites in Timbuktu has appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the first case of its kind.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi is suspected of war crimes over the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque in the ancient Malian city in 2012.

He was handed over by Niger after the ICC issued a warrant for his arrest.

Islamists occupied the city until they were ousted by French forces in 2013.

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