Six judges will try Malian suspect Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi for the destruction of Timbuktu tombs and Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ong’wen at the International Criminal Court.
The ICC Presidency appointed Judges Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (DRC), Bertram Smitt (Germany) and Paul C Pangalangan (Phillipines) to Trial Chamber VIII to hear the Al Mahdicase, which was confirmed on 24 March 2016. Judges Schmitt and Pangalangan would also be joined by Judge Peter Kovacs (Hungary) to constitute Trial Chamber IX to try the Ong’wen case.
The confirmation of charges hearing in the Ong’wen case took place between 21 and 27 January, this year. In March, this year, the Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed the 70 charges brought by the Prosecutor against Dominic Ong’wen, as alleged former Commander in the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and committed him to trial.
The confirmed charges concern crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed during attacks against the Pajule IDP (October 2003), Odek IDP (April 2004) Lukodi IDP (May 2004) and Abok IDP camps (June 2004), as well as sexual and gender-based crimes directly and indirectly committed by Dominic Ong’wen and crimes of conscription and use in hostilities of children under the age of 15 allegedly committed in northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005. Mr Ong’wen was surrendered to the ICC on 16 January 2015 pursuant to an ICC warrant of arrest and transferred to ICC custody on 21 January 2015.
The confirmation of charges against Al Mahdi took place in March, this year. On 24 March 2016, Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed the war crime charge against the Malian ‘moral brigade boss’ regarding the destruction of historical and religious monuments in Timbuktu (Mali) between around 30 June 2012 and around 11 July 2012, and committed him to trial. Mr Al Mahdi was surrendered to the ICC on 26 September 2015 pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued on 18 September 2015. His trial begins on August, 22, this month.