Radical Islamist convicted for destruction in a cultural area


It clearly appeared that international law must address deliberate attacks on a people’s heritage when they are an intrinsic part of warfare, meant to destroy a group’s history and identity. The crime of destroying cultural heritage is punishable by up to 30 years in prison but Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, a member of a jihadist group linked to Al Qaeda had admitted his guilt, cooperated with prosecutors, had shown remorse, expressed initial reluctance to carry out the destruction, and stopped the use of bulldozers limiting the extent of the destruction. The Timbuktu world heritage site recognized by Unesco was restored after destruction with participation of foreign donors who had paid for operations. Timbuktu was a world symbol for the expansion of Islam in Africa.


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