News / Africa

ICC Launches War Crimes Probe in Mali

International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gives a press conference in Dakar, Nov. 12, 2012.
International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda gives a press conference in Dakar, Nov. 12, 2012.
VOA News
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into alleged war crimes in Mali.

In a statement Wednesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she has determined that some "deeds of brutality and destruction" committed in Mali may constitute war crimes.

She says there is reasonable basis to believe the crimes include murder, torture, attacking protected objects, illegal executions and rape.

The investigation comes after human rights groups voiced concern about alleged abuses in northern Mali, which is controlled by Islamist militant groups.

Corinne Dufka, West Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch, says the rights group has documented the recruitment and use of several hundred children by the Islamists since last April.

She says over the past week, witnesses have reported seeing children as young as 11 taking part in fighting between the militants and French and Malian forces.

"I have conducted numerous telephone interviews with residents, primarily in the Gao region who have described the presence of children at checkpoints, with the Islamist groups, as they have attacked some of the towns as well as children, wounded children, who have come in for treatment in Gao," said Dufka.

She says in some instances, the children appear to have been recruited along with older brothers or their parents.

Amnesty International notes that Islamist groups were previously accused of killing and brutalizing people who violated the militants' strict version of Islamic law.

The group's Salvatore Sagues told VOA that Islamist militants have carried out their own versions of law and justice.

"They imposed their own interpretation of Islam, flogging couples, for example, who had sexual relationships without being married," he said. "They stoned to death a couple, unmarried, who had a child. They amputated several people accused of theft without any trial. They destroyed cultural buildings."

The group says another problem is that Islamic armed groups are intermingled with civilians in the north, a development that puts civilians at risk during French bombing raids.

The ICC says based on information gathered to date, its investigation will focus on alleged crimes committed in three northern regions of Mali.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More