September 30, 2019 / 5:10 PM / a month ago

International Criminal Court puts Mali war crimes suspect to trial

FILE PHOTO: Malian Islamist militant Al-Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud sits in the courtroom of the ICC (International Criminal Court) during his trial at the Hague in the Netherlands, July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier/Pool

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday said they would put a man suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Mali to trial.

The judges confirmed the charges against Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz and said there were substantial grounds to believe that he was responsible for crimes including rape, torture, sexual slavery and the directing of attacks against religious and historical buildings.

He allegedly committed these crimes while he acted as the de-facto chief of Islamic police in Timbuktu during a 2012-2013 rebel takeover of the city.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in July said that after the Ansar Dine Islamist rebel group took control of Timbuktu in 2012, civilians “were subjected to a climate of constant fear and repression”.

But lawyers for Al Hassan said he was innocent of wrongdoing and his case should be dismissed.

A date for the trial has not been set.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alex Richardson

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