UN Asks ICC to Investigate Destruction of Mali’s Mausoleums

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The UN’s cultural wing has reported the destruction of precious mausoleums during an Islamist takeover of northern Mali to the International Criminal Court, its head said on a visit on Saturday to witness their reconstruction.

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Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents seized Timbuktu – around 1 000km northeast of Mali’s capital Bamako – alongside the west African nation’s other desert towns and cities in 2012.

They wrecked 16 of its shrines to Muslim saints that date back to the ancient caravan city’s 15th and 16th century golden age as an economic, intellectual and spiritual centre.

“Unesco has involved the International Criminal Court with the destruction of the mausoleums,” Irina Bokova, the organisation’s general director, told reporters at the end of a visit to Timbuktu.

“Two months ago I met the prosecutor and I believe they are progressing rapidly, and I hope they will be ready to present the case before the ICC,” she added, without giving details of what charges would be brought.

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