Timbuktu’s jihadist police chief before ICC for war crimes

Timbuktu's jihadist police chief before ICC for war crimes

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption He is only the second person to face trial at The Hague over the devastating war in Mali

The war crimes trial of the former head of the Islamic police in the Malian city of Timbuktu has started at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud headed the Islamic police when it was under the control of Islamist militants in 2012.

He has been charged in The Hague with war crimes, crimes against humanity, rape and sexual slavery.

Girls were allegedly forced to marry militants.

The Islamic police commanders are also believed to have ordered the destruction of historic monuments and buildings dedicated to Islam.

Mr Abdoul-Aziz was handed over to the ICC in 2018 by the Malian authorities.

He is only the second person to face trial at the court over his actions during the devastating war in Mali.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tombs at the Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu were smashed by Islamist militants in 2012

The other man, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi pleaded guilty in 2016 to destroying nine mausoleums and a mosque, in the first case of cultural desecration heard by the ICC.

He was jailed for nine years, after declaring he was "really sorry" for his actions and asking for forgiveness.

In 2017 ICC judges found him liable for nearly €3m (£2.6m; $3,6m) in damages.

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