phase: Situations & Cases
The Situation in Mali focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict between Malian government forces, the Mouvement national de libération de l’ Azawad (MNLA), and Muslim armed groups such as the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Ansar Dine. The armed conflict occurred from January 17, 2012 to the present.
On January 28, 2012, the MNLA, along with the AQIM, launched an attack on a town in northern Mali, and the two armed groups fought against Malian government forces over control of northern Mali. The MNLA is a Tuareg armed group that sought to create an independent state called Azawad in northern Mali. The AQIM is a Muslim armed group that sought to impose Sharia law over Mali. On March 22, 2012, President Toure was deposed in a military coup by Malian soldiers who were angered by the Malian government’s inability to defeat the MNLA, and the Malian soldiers looted the capital. President Toure resigned, and Dioncounda Traore was declared interim president.
On April 6, 2012, taking advantage of the political crisis, the MNLA declared the independence of Azawad state. On May 27, 2012, the MNLA and the Ansar Dine agreed to create an Islamic state. The Ansar Dine is a Muslim armed group with ties to Al-Qaeda that sought to impose Sharia law over Mali. However, the alliance between Ansar Dine and the MNLA fell apart. By June 2012, Ansar Dine and other Muslim armed groups had pushed the MNLA out of northern Mali and controlled Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao. From May to July 2012, the Ansar Dine and other Muslim armed groups destroyed historical holy sites, mausoleums, and mosques (UNESCO World Heritage sites) in Timbuktu. With French-led international military assistance, Mali regained control of northern Mali. However, despite peace attempts in June 2013, February 2015, and June 2015, the conflict is still ongoing.
Mali is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on August 16, 2000. On July 18, 2012, after receiving a referral (dated July 13, 2012) from the government of Mali of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On January 16, 2013, the OTP opened a formal investigation. Within the Situation in Mali, there is the following case: The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi.
For more information on the Situation in Mali, please visit the ICC page.