ICC: Destruction of cultural heritage on trial in Mali

August 23, 2016

The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a trial of Ahmed Al Faqi Al Mahdi, known as Abu Tourab, who accused of war crimes. Under his command, ISIS brigades destroyed nine mausoleums in the “City of 333 Saints”, which is a world cultural heritage.

On Monday, the ICC prosecutor thinks a trial is important: too many cultural losses caused the ISIS and his jihadists. UNESCO believes, such a barbaric behavior must be punished. The main charge is an intentional destruction of cultural property, such cases aren’t unique. For example, in the 1990s, militants has destroyed the old town of Dubrovnik, another cultural ancient center.

Cultural heritage is important, that’s why the international trials need to avoid such a “cultural genocide” in future. The link between the material and immaterial aspects of things and of cultural property are extremely important. Never destruction of cultural heritage a preparatory act for genocide could justify intervention, say the experts from UNESCO, being worked in Mali.