Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Thursday for an investigation into summary executions [press release] by Mali forces backed by the French. HRW alleges that the Malian government has summarily executed 13 suspected Islamist supporters and forcibly disappeared an additional five. The executions by Malian authorities came after Islamist armed groups reportedly executed seven Malian forces and used children to fight in combat. HRW alleged that despite the fact that Malian authorities arrested and executed Islamist forces in public, the military is denying any knowledge of the killings. HRW urged the Malian government to investigate these killings and forced disappearances and bring the individuals who participated in these abuses to justice. These alleged abuses took place when the Islamist rebels lead an offensive against Konna starting on January 9.
Earlier this week International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] warned [JURIST report] the Malian government over reports of human rights abuses by Malian forces. In the statement, Bensouda urged Malian authorities to put an immediate stop to the alleged abuses and to investigate and prosecute those responsible. Bensouda announced last week that her office has launched an investigation [JURIST report] into possible war crimes committed in Mali. Mali has drawn increased international scrutiny recently regarding political violence and alleged human rights abuses. Last week the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report saying that the tumultuous situation in Mali has led to human rights violations [JURIST report]. Earlier in January the interim president declared a state of emergency [JURIST report].