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The Prosecutor vs Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Haziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud

On July 13th, 2012, the Malian Government referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) the situation in its country occurring since the beginning of 2012. During this period, the country was facing an internal armed conflict between government factions and some rebel movements, notably Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Ansar Dine. One of the highlights of the conflict was the capture and occupation by the said movements of the city of Timbuktu between the beginning of April 2012 and January 17th, 2013.

An investigation was opened by the ICC in January 2013 to determine whether there was reason to believe that crimes punishable by the Rome Statute had been committed during the relevant period. The final report concluded that there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and / or crimes against humanity had been committed in Mali between April 2012 and January 17th, 2013.

Indeed, during the occupation of the city of Timbuktu, the armed groups enforced new rules that were in accordance with their view of religion. They also created institutions, such as the Islamic Police, the Morals Brigade (or Hesbah) and the Islamic Tribunal in order to force the Timbuktians to follow these new precepts including, according to the investigation report, by arrests, flogging, torture, judgments without procedural guarantees…

Mr. Al Hassan, as the de facto leader of Ansar Dine’s Islamic police in the city, is said to have played a leading role in the establishment and execution of these punishments throughout the occupation of the city. These actions were carried out as part of a concerted, generalized and systematic policy within the meaning of Article 7-2-a of the Rome Statute.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor, there are sufficient reasons to believe that Mr Al Hassan could be held criminally liable, on the basis of Articles 25-3-a and / or 25-3-b of the Rome Statute for having committed individually, jointly with other persons or through other persons as well as for having ordered, solicited or encouraged the commission of:

  • Crimes against humanity: in the form of acts of persecution for religious and sexist reasons provided for in article 7-1-h of the Statute, rape and sexual slavery provided for in article 7-1 -g of the Statute, torture provided for in Article 7-1-f of the Statute as well as other inhuman acts intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to physical integrity or to physical or mental health, including forced marriages and abuse, provided for in article 7-1-k of the Statute;
  • War crimes: in the form of attacks on the integrity and attacks on the dignity of the person provided for in Articles 8-2-ci and 8-2-c-ii respectively of the Statute, of sentences handed down without a prior judgment, rendered by a regularly constituted court affording the judicial guarantees generally recognized as indispensable provided for in article 8-2-c-iv of the Statute, as well as of rape and sexual slavery provided for in article 8 -2-e-vi of the Statute and the destruction of religious buildings and historic monuments provided for in article 8-2-e-iv of the Statute.

An arrest warrant was issued by the pre-trial chamber on March 27th, 2018. Mr Al Hassan was transferred to the ICC on March 31th, 2018. The confirmation of charges hearing took place from July 8th to 17th, 2019 and the decision was rendered on September 30th, 2019. The trial opened on July 14th, 2020 and is ongoing.

This summary of the facts of this case and the proceedings is only proposed for informational purposes, does not engage Dome in any way and cannot replace the careful reading of the judgments and orders of the case.