Situation in Mali: Mr Al Hassan convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Timbuktu

Today, 26 June 2024, Trial Chamber X of the International Criminal Court (ICC or “Court”) (, by  majority, convicted Mr Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud of some of the charges brought against him of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 2 April 2012 and 29 January 2013 in Timbuktu, northern Mali, controlled at that time by the armed groups Ansar Dine and Al-Qaida in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The Chamber was composed of Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (Presiding Judge), Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Kimberly Prost.

The Presiding Judge read out a summary of the judgment in court, stating, inter alia, that “although Al Hassan was working for a group that claimed to be applying Islamic Sharia, this trial was not about Sharia, or the Muslim religion in general”. The trial concerned the acts and conduct of a man, Mr Al Hassan, acting in a specific context. The Bench examined the evidence to ascertain whether Mr Al Hassan’s responsibility was established beyond reasonable doubt.

The Chamber noted that, after being recruited by senior leaders of AQIM, Mr Al Hassan became a senior member of the Islamic Police, where he took on a leadership role that included organizing police work. The Islamic Police played a pivotal role in the system Ansar Dine/AQIM put in place to commit the crimes. He also participated in the work of the Islamic Court as a member of the Islamic Police, inter alia by writing and signing police reports, taking part in the transfer of accused persons to the Islamic Court and implementing the judgments and sentences handed down by it. He remained a member of the Islamic Police until Ansar Dine/AQIM left Timbuktu. Hence, Mr Al Hassan contributed to the system put in place by Ansar Dine/AQIM.

Mr Al Hassan was convicted, by majority, of directly committing the crimes himself, contributing to them with others or aiding and abetting the commission of the crimes by others, in relation to:

the crimes against humanity of torture; and
the war crimes of torture and outrages upon personal dignity;

and of contributing to the crimes perpetrated by other members of Ansar Dine/AQIM, in relation to:

the war crimes of mutilation, cruel treatment and passing sentences without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable; and
the crimes against humanity of persecution and other inhumane acts.

The Chamber found that certain crimes of sexual violence had taken place in Timbuktu during the material time. However, Mr Al Hassan was not found to bear responsibility for those crimes and was consequently acquitted of the following charges:

the war crimes of rape and sexual slavery;
the crimes against humanity of rape, sexual slavery and other inhumane acts in the form of forced marriage.

Mr Al Hassan was also acquitted of the war crime of attacking protected objects.

The three judges each appended to the decision a separate, partially dissenting opinion. Judge Kesia-Mbe Mindua appended a dissenting opinion concerning, in particular, the existence of a ground for excluding Mr Al Hassan’s criminal responsibility.

An order setting the calendar of the proceedings for Mr Hassan’s sentencing will be issued shortly. The verdict may be appealed by the Prosecutor or the Defence for Mr Al Hassan within 30 days.

Trial Judgment

Separate and Partly Dissenting Opinion of Judge Tomoko Akane

Separate and Partly Dissenting Opinion of Judge Kimberly Prost

Summary read in Court (French)

Questions and Answers document: English; French

Photographs of the hearing

Audiovisual material:

Verdict in the case of Al Hassan, full hearing, 26 June 2024

YouTube (for viewing): French, Arabic, English, Floor
Video (MPEG-4) for download: French, Arabic, English, Floor
Audio (MPEG-3) for download: French, Arabic, English, Floor

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Criminal Court (ICC).

For further information, please contact:
Fadi El Abdallah
Spokesperson and Head of the Public Affairs Unit
International Criminal Court
on +31 (0)70 515-9152 or +31 (0)6 46448938
or at

You can also follow the Court’s activities on Twitter / X, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Flickr

The trial in this case opened on 14 and 15 July 2020 ( During the trial, the Prosecution called 52 witnesses to give oral testimony, and 22 Defence witnesses appeared in court. The Legal Representatives of Victims, representing 2,196 victims in the case, also called two witnesses. On 8 February 2023, Trial Chamber X closed the presentation of evidence in the case. The Prosecution, the Legal Representatives of Victims and the Defence made their closing statements between 23 and 25 May 2023.

The post Situation in Mali: Mr Al Hassan convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Timbuktu appeared first on Capital Newspaper.

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