The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General welcomes the landmark case before the International Criminal Court today relating to the trial of Ahmad al Faqi al Mahdi, an alleged member of Ansar Dine, who is charged with the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012.
This is the first time that the International Criminal Court is trying a case exclusively focused on the war crime of intentionally directing attacks against cultural property. It draws our attention to an increasingly worrying trend of deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in situations of armed conflict. Such attacks represent a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations and their religious and historical roots. The Secretary-General strongly condemns all such acts, and calls on all concerned to ensure perpetrators are held accountable.
The Secretary-General commends the Court for bringing this significant issue to the forefront of efforts to ensure international justice and accountability.