Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, June 6, 2023


ICC prosecutors say Malian rebel was ‘enthusiastic’ war crimes perpetrator

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday said a Malian Islamist rebel was a key figure in “blatant persecution” of the residents of Timbuktu and was an enthusiastic participant in war crimes.

Prosecutors say Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz was a central figure in the Ansar Dine Islamist group which controlled every aspect of daily life in Timbuktu after their 2012 takeover.

Al Hassan headed an Islamic police force that terrorized the population of Timbuktu, especially women, who were subjected to rape, forced marriages and sexual slavery, the prosecutors say.

“What we are dealing with is a case of voluntary, should I even say enthusiastic and jubilant, participation in a criminal activity shrouded in religion,” ICC deputy prosecutor Mame Niang said in his closing statement.

Al Hassan’s lawyers have previously argued that he was wrongly singled out for prosecution and painted him as someone trying to maintain order in a chaotic situation in Timbuktu after the rebel takeover. They do not deny he was a member of Ansar Dine.

After Ansar Dine took over Timbuktu it tried to impose sharia Islamic law across a divided Mali. The al Qaeda-linked fighters also used pick-axes, shovels and hammers to shatter earthen tombs and centuries-old shrines reflecting the local Sufi version of Islam in what is known as the “City of 333 Saints”.

The ICC, the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal, has been examining events in Mali since 2012. French and Malian troops pushed the rebels back the following year.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg, Editing by William Maclean)


Editorial Cartoons

View More »

Gary Varvel
Thu, Jun 1, 2023