Critical Analytical Note

Home » Uncategorized » ICC Charges on Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi

ICC Charges on Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi

posts by email.

Critical Analytical Note: Critical Analytical Note

Legality of Hyperlinks

Legality of Hyperlinks

I, for one, while writing, picture the intended audience and the beneficiaries (wishful thinking). This article talks about the legality of hyperlinks, taking a leap from trademarks we jump to the next but a slightly tangled trajectory of Intellectual property Law. Copyrights are about ideas, they say ideas are bullet proof but with all my […]

Preliminary decree in partition suit and role of Commissioner

Preliminary decree in partition suit and role of Commissioner

In a partition suit, preliminary decree is passed. An execution petition is filed by the plaintiff before the court. Court allows for it and appoints a commissioner in furtherance of the same. However, objections are filed against the execution of the decree and for the recall of preliminary decree, by the defendant. Court allows for […]

Filing for trademark in India

Filing for trademark in India

In today’s materialistic world where intangible standards of quality such as the goodwill and the brand value of a certain product matter than the tangible quality of the product itself, when the common folk, the youth, dances to the tunes of wakhra swag shunning the idea of running after the brand tags but savagely contradicting […]

Material alterations to a Cheque

Material alterations to a Cheque

We received multiple requests to consider doing a post on material alterations to a Cheque than confining ourselves to just alterations in the signature. In this post we look at various issues that arise out of altering a Cheque…let’s get started! What constitutes material alteration of a Cheque once it has been signed? What changes […]

Cheque bounce Case (Altered presumption of acquittal by sessions court)

Cheque bounce Case (Altered presumption of acquittal by sessions court)

Now let’s alter the presumption. Presumption here is that Sessions court has acquitted the individual after he was convicted by the trial court. In case of acquittal by session court, section 378 of CrPC will come into play. Under sub-section 4, a private individual may by an application made to HC ask for grants special leave […]


Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi pleaded guilty to charges of destroying ancient cultural artefacts in Timbuktu at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and begged forgiveness earlier this week. The case against him is considered to be landmark in convicting criminals for destroying ancient cultural sites. This is the first ever case of a suspect charged with war crimes against a World Heritage Site.

Politicians and the Government have been slow to crack on these evil acts, but experts believe the trial and subsequent pleading of Mr. Mahdi will bend in the right direction.

Mr. Mahdi said he had been caught in an evil wave during the civil war. He is accused of intentionally directing attacks against 14 mausoleums in the city of Timbuktu. The buildings were UNESCO World Heritage Sites that housed the tombs of Muslim Scholars saints since the 14th Century.  Prosecutors hope that this case will draw attention to the increasingly destruction of cultural and religious sites carried out by the ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Modern History is filled with cases of wartime destruction of cultural sites, from the leveling of Dresden to the destruction of giant Buddha Sculpture at Bamiyan. IS fighters burned down the Mosul library in Iraq last year as well as destroyed monuments at the Roman site of Palmyra in Syria.

Until now the ICC and other international courts have focused mainly on crimes against individuals, such as murder, rape and torture.

As per one senior legal adviser to Amnesty International, the crimes against individuals have an immediate impact while the consequences of cultural destruction is beyond the victims, it is an attack on people’s cultural identity.

According to Irina Bokova, the head of UNESCO, “The destruction of culture is a central element of a global strategy of hatred, the protection of such heritage – including by ending impunity for crimes – must … move to the forefront of peace building.”

For the people of Timbuktu, freed from Islamist Occupation by French troops in 2013, Mahdi’s trial is justification of the importance of their culture and the place these shrines hold, says Cynthia Schneider, a scholar of relations with the Islamic world and a former US ambassador.

Schneider is a co-director of the Timbuktu Resistance, a project which aims to foster peace unity and economic redevelopment in Timbuktu, where the economy has dried up after the destruction as the city’s main income was tourism.

UNESCO helped in rebuilding the tombs of the Sufi saints, who are believed in Timbuktu to protect the city against evil spirits.

Some Malians call this trial as the “trial of stones and earth” and question its significance as to them the world seems to be ignoring the executions, rapes and amputation of hands etc. Albeit, the destruction of shrines and monuments has become a distinctive feature of Islamic Extremism, with many statues, churches and tombs being attacked in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Although, the small mud shrines are not particularly architecturally beautiful but they are key to the identity of Timbuktu and to its economy.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: