Jihadist awaits sentencing for attack on tombs
WAR crimes judges will deliver a historic judgement tomorrow against a Malian jihadist who admitted attacking Timbuktu’s fabled shrines, in a case which could send a strong message against cultural destruction.
Around the globe, 55 places are on UNESCO’s list of endangered sites and fears are growing for other monuments in Iraq and Syria.
Protection of such treasures “is about more than shielding stones and buildings – it is a part of our effort to defend human rights and save people’s lives”, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on protecting cultural heritage.
He offered the hope that the case of Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi before the International Criminal Court could “help end impunity”.
“Combatants that attack cultural treasures want to damage more than artefacts – they aim to tear at the fabric of societies,” Mr Ban added. –