The UN confirmed on Friday that a four-person team was on the ground in Mali to investigate potential violations of humanitarian law. According to Cecile Pouilly, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website], the fact-finding mission will investigate [press release] allegations of retaliatory violence. In January British and US militaries provided logistical support [UPI report] for a French intervention in Mali, targeting militant Islamist groups.
Mali has drawn increased international scrutiny recently, particularly from the UN as more reports of political violence and human rights abuses come to light. Earlier this month UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng [official profile] warned [JURIST report] of an increased risk of reprisal attacks against ethnic Tuareg and Arab civilian populations in the northern regions of Mali. In January the International Criminal Court 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 that her office has launched an investigation [JURIST report] into possible war crimes committed in the region.