Mali: the ICC issues an arrest warrant against one of the main jihadists in the Sahel

Mali: the ICC issues an arrest warrant against one of the main jihadists in the Sahel

The judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) made public on Friday an arrest warrant against one of the main jihadist leaders of the Sahel, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

They were allegedly committed, mainly, in the legendary city of Timbuktu, in Mali, between January 2012 and January 2013, according to the ICC press release.

Iyad Ag Ghaly, whose age is not specified, is one of the most important Malian and Sahelian jihadists and one of the main actors in the security crisis in which the Sahel has been plunged since 2012.

He heads the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), linked to Al-Qaeda, which operates in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger and is accused of countless attacks against national armies and abuses against civilian populations.

Radicalized Tuareg rebel leader, also known as “Abou Fadl”, he founded the Ansar Dine group in 2012 which invaded and occupied Timbuktu.

The crimes targeted include murder (including of soldiers), rape, sexual slavery, torture, as well as “ attacks intentionally directed against buildings dedicated to religion and historical monuments.”

The arrest warrant was initially issued on July 18, 2017. It had until then remained secret due tos “potential risks for witnesses and victims”.

Originally from the Kidal region in northern Mali, he took part with Ansar Dine in the insurrection which led to a long bloody conflict, spreading to the center of the country, then to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. .

The International Criminal Court, established in 2022, is the only independent court that investigates, prosecutes, and holds trials of the world’s worst crimes.

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