ICC: Attacks on Sufi shrines in Timbuktu constitute war crimes

A prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said that the attacks on Sufi mausoleums in the Malian capital Timbuktu at the weekend constitute war crimes.

A centuries-old traditional structure in Timbuktu Credit: REUTERS/Adama Diarra

Witnesses reported that militants from the al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine group used Kalashnikovs and pick-axes to destroy several of the mausoleums at the UNESCO world heritage site.

The mausoleums are shrines to saints of the local Sufi version of Islam, and are considered idolatrous by the salafist Ansar Dine.

The walls of Timbuktu - a UNESCO world heritage site

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told AFP that "deliberate attacks against undefended, civilian buildings which are not military objectives" constitute war crimes.

She added: "This is a war crime which my office has authority to fully investigate."