The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday found [order, PDF] that a Malian jihadist is liable for individual and collective reparations for overseeing the destruction of Muslim shrines in Timbuktu. Ahmad Al Faqi [case information, PDF] was found liable for for 2.7 million euros in expenses. In its order, the ICC stressed the importance of cultural heritage:
Because of their purpose and symbolism, most cultural property and cultural heritage are unique and of sentimental value. As a result, they are not fungible or readily replaceable. The destruction of international cultural heritage thus “carries a message of terror and helplessness; it destroys part of humanity’s shared memory and collective consciousness; and it renders humanity unable to transmit its values and knowledge to future generations”. It is an irreplaceable loss that negates humanity.
The court noted that Al Mahdi is indigent and encouraged the Trust Funds for Victims (TFV) to complement the reparations award and submit a draft implementation plan by next February.
Al Mahdi admitted his guilt [JURIST report] when his trial began last August. He was sentenced [JURIST report] in September to nine years in prison. This was a historic case, marking the first time the ICC has tried and convicted someone for committing the war crime of demolishing religious buildings and historical monuments.