ICC Prosecutor Claims Defendant Was’Crucial’ to Timbuktu Crimes

In an opening statement, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda stated the extremists who inhabited Timbuktu turned a life that the town called the”pearl of the desert” to a nightmare, even where armed rebels destroyed historical mausoleums and meted out people floggings, amputations, forced marriages and rapes.

The suspect, Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was”well aware of and involved, as proof will reveal, in this barbarous and barbarous repression,” Bensouda told judges in the court at The Hague.

As the hearing began, among Al Hassan’s attorneys, Nicoletta Montefusco, contended he was unfit to stand trial as a result of post-traumatic anxiety disease and”dissociative characteristics that result from acute maltreatment.” Defense attorneys previously told the courtroom that Al Hassan was detained while in custody in Mali before he had been delivered to The Hague.

They requested to suspend the event on the eve of the trial since COVID-19 constraints had prevented them from fulfilling their customer and visiting his psychological requirement for four weeks, the defense attorneys said.

Judges declined to stop the trial and called for a medical evaluation of Al Hassan, who afterward said he knew that the 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity by which he is billed but declined to enter pleas.

Bensouda explained that girls and women were especially troubled by Ansar Dine’s repressive regime, confronting corporal punishment and imprisonment.

“Many were pressured to the union,” Bensouda explained. “Confined contrary to their own will and raped by members of this group.” Al Hassan was involved in coordinating these unions, the prosecutor told judges.

She mentioned one rape victim as stating, “All that was left was a corpse.”

A French-led military performance in 2013 compelled Al Hassan and other people from electricity, though rebel components have continued to point numerous strikes on Malian and global forces.

The trial started against a history of political tensions in Mali after contested legislative elections.

The trial will be the next instance at the ICC connected to Ansar Dine’s brutal occupation of Timbuktu. An associate of the team, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, premiered in 2016 and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for assaulting nine mausoleums and a mosque doorway in the town in 2012.