[JURIST] Malian Tuareg rebels on Tuesday called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Malian government forces during the recent conflict. Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) announced that it has asked the ICC to investigate [AFP report] the alleged use of torture, summary executions and forced disappearances while attempting to put down the rebellion. The MNLA was initially aligned with Islamists, but the two groups fell into conflict after the Islamists began imposing Sharia Law throughout the region. The Malian government has been accused of committing war crimes against people perceived to be collaborating with the Islamist rebels, including the Tuareg. France announced on Tuesday that dozens of Islamist rebels have been killed [AFP report] during the conflict, and Chad claims that they killed one of the rebels’ major commanders, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. An official for Isamist militant organization al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb also announced on Monday that another prominent militant, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, was killed in a French bombing raid in northern Mali. France has deemed both of these reports to be unconfirmed at this point in order to avoid the appearance of celebration and protect the remaining French hostages in Mali.
The Malian government allegedly denies knowledge of these acts of violence targeting particular ethnic groups amidst scrutiny from international sources. Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged the Malian government to prosecute soldiers [JURIST report] who participate in violence toward suspected Islamist rebels and supporters. Earlier that month the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] confirmed sending a four-person team to investigate [JURIST report] the claims of violence. ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] also announced an investigation [JURIST report] into possible war crimes in January. In July six West African nations requested [JURIST report] for an ICC investigation into war crimes in Mali.