After years of exemplary reconstruction of the Timbuktu mausoleums, a symbolic euro was handed over to the victims: the Malian state and the entire international community, represented by UNESCO. The damage is estimated at 2.7 million euros (about 1.8 billion FCFA).
At a ceremony yesterday, Tuesday, in Bamako, a symbolic euro was given to the Malian state and the international community for the destruction of the mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu by terrorists in 2012. This euro is « an immeasurable symbol of the harm we have all suffered and of our will to say Never again! « said Mama Koïté Doumbia, Chair of the Trust Fund for Victims, an independent body set up by the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu had been destroyed by Ansar Dine terrorists angered by worship at these shrines, which they considered contrary to their principles. « What was destroyed in this part of the world, in the beautiful city of Timbuktu, was not just rocks or stones that were demolished, but a real world heritage that is part of our common identity, » explained Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On the other hand, the twenty or so Islamic mausoleums in Timbuktu were rebuilt identically between March 2014 and July 2015. « Thanks to all of you, the mausoleums are now standing and the manuscripts are preserved in safe places for scientific exploitation for the benefit of humanity, » said Qu Xing, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General.
In 2016, the International Criminal Court sentenced Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi to nine years in prison for leading the destruction of the mausoleums in the City of 333 Saints. The 46-year-old was at the time a member of Ansar Dine, one of the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups that controlled northern Mali for about 10 months in 2012 before being largely driven out by an international intervention triggered in January 2013 by France.
In addition, the trial of Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, considered the commissioner of the Islamic police in Timbuktu, opened at the ICC in July 2020. He is being prosecuted for his involvement in the destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu and for war crimes and crimes against humanity, rape and sexual slavery committed in the context of forced marriages.