UN-backed court orders extremist to pay reparations for Timbuktu destruction

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The El Farouk monument in Timbuktu, Mali, destroyed by the extremists. Photo: MINUSMA/Sophie Ravier (file photo)

A former Islamic militant has been ordered to pay 2.7 million Euros, or just over US$3 million, for directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in the city of Timbuktu in Mali.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday issued the reparations order against Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi who had been sentenced to nine years imprisonment in September 2016.

Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and is inscribed on the UN cultural agency, UNESCO's, World Heritage List.

Extremists destroyed 14 of its mausoleums in 2012.

Dianne Penn reports.

The International Criminal Court concluded that Mr Al Mahdi was liable "for individual and collective reparations for the community of Timbuktu."

The payment covers three categories: damage to the historic and religious buildings, consequential economic loss and moral harm.

It also can include symbolic measures, such as a memorial or a forgiveness ceremony, while people who depended on the buildings to earn a living, or whose ancestors' burial sites were damaged will be eligible to receive a payment.

The Malian State and the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, also will receive one symbolic euro.

The court noted that as Mr Al Mahdi is "indigent," the reparations should come from trust funds for victims.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 48″

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