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Suspect in the destruction of a Timbuktu mausoleum to be tried in the International Criminal Court

As the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) met in New York this week -- bringing together world leaders to inaugurate the Sustainable Development Goals -- the "Global Goals" -- the Governments of Niger and Mali, UNESCO and the International Criminal Court (ICC), working together, made a down-payment on Goals 16 (peace and justice) and 17 (partnerships for the goals). That is because they collaborated to help with the investigation, arrest and surrender of an alleged perpetrator of cultural destruction in ancient Timbuktu, a World Heritage Site.

By working to protect cultural heritage and bring a perpetrator to justice, these actors are helping to promote access to justice and accountability. In addition, they are fostering global partnership for implementation of laws, which is an important element of government stability and economic development -- all highlighted at the UNGA as Global Goals.

The surrender of Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi (Abut Tourab) by the Niger government to the ICC is significant because it is the first specific case brought before the court "concerning the destruction of buildings dedicated to religion and historical monuments" during an armed conflict of a non-international character. 

Al Faqi was a member of a member of Ansar Dine, an al-Qaeda-linked group that controlled northern Mali in 2012. During this time, he purportedly executed the so-called Islamic Court of Timbuktu's decisions to both vandalize and destroy mosques and mausoleums, and also to burn tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts. ...

Read entire article at Huffington Post