On 31 March 2018, Mr Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud (“Mr Al Hassan”) was surrendered to the International Criminal Court (“ICC”, “Court”) by the Malian authorities and arrived at the Court’s detention centre in the Netherlands. Mr Al Hassan is suspected, according to a warrant of arrest issued by Preâ€‘Trial Chamber I of the ICC on 27 March 2018, of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in 2012 and 2013 in Timbuktu, Mali.
The ICC Registrar, Herman von Hebel, thanked the authorities of Mali and of the host State, the Netherlands, for their cooperation in this matter.
The Chamber is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a nonâ€‘international armed conflict began in January 2012 and remained ongoing in Mali throughout the period of the alleged events. During that period, from the beginning of April 2012 to 17 January 2013, the city of Timbuktu was allegedly under the control of the armed groups Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (“AQIM”) and Ansar Eddine, a primarily Tuareg movement associated with AQIM. Mr Al Hassan is alleged to have played a prominent role in the commission of crimes and religious and genderâ€‘based persecution by those armed groups against the civilian population of Timbuktu.
According to the arrest warrant, Mr Al Hassan, a Malian national born on 19 September 1977 in the community of Hangabera, about 10 kilometres north of Goundam in the region of Timbuktu, Mali, and belonging to the Tuareg/Tamasheq tribe Kel Ansar, was a member of Ansar Eddine and de facto chief of Islamic police. He is also alleged to have been involved in the work of the Islamic court in Timbuktu and to have participated in executing its decisions. Mr Al Hassan is further alleged to have taken part in the destruction of the mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu using Islamic police forces in the field, and to have participated in the policy of forced marriages which victimized the female inhabitants of Timbuktu and led to repeated rapes and the sexual enslavement of women and girls.
The Chamber is satisfied that the evidence submitted by the Prosecution provides reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Al Hassan is criminally responsible under article 25(3)(a) or 25(3)(b) of the Rome Statute for crimes against humanity (torture, rape and sexual slavery; persecution of the inhabitants of Timbuktu on religious and gender grounds; and other inhumane acts) and for war crimes (rape and sexual slavery; violence to person and outrages upon personal dignity; attacks intentionally directed against buildings dedicated to religion and historic monuments; and the passing of sentences without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable) committed in Timbuktu, Mali, between April 2012 and January 2013.
Warrant of arrest (in French)
The situation in Mali was referred to the ICC by the Government of Mali on 13 July 2012. On 16 January 2013, the ICC Prosecutor opened an investigation into crimes allegedly committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012. The case against Mr Al Hassan is the second case in this situation after the case against Mr Al Mahdi, who was found guilty and sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012.