Mali to ask ICC to probe 'hell' in north
Mali will next week ask the International Criminal Court to open a probe into atrocities committed by armed groups occupying the north, a source in the justice ministry said yesterday.
"Mali will officially refer atrocities committed in the north by armed groups to the ICC. International organisations ... have confirmed these atrocities," the high-ranking source said on condition of anonymity.
Several international rights bodies have denounced raped, murders, enlistment of child soldiers and the destruction of ancient religious World Heritage sites by the various armed groups controlling northern Mali.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told AFP last week that the destruction of the cultural treasures in Timbuktu was a war crime, and that the court was collecting information on the matter.
The International Federation for Human Rights released a report yesterday saying Mali was "descending into hell" because of the executions, rape and torture taking place in its north.
The crisis began when Tuareg rebels demanding independence in January launched a rebellion which swiftly overwhelmed the nation's army. Angry and frustrated, a group of low-ranking soldiers carried out a coup on March 22.