Mali and UNESCO to receive a “symbolic euro” in token reparation for the heritage of Timbuktu

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will today hand over a symbolic euro to the Government of Mali and UNESCO for damage inflicted on the people of Mali people and the international community by the destruction of cultural properties in Timbuktu in 2012.

The reparation, which will take place in a ceremony in Bamako, will give effect to the sentence passed in 2017 by the ICC on Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, who admitted responsibility for the destruction of several cultural properties in Timbuktu, a site inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1988. Several mausoleums as well as the sacred gate of the Sidi Yahia Mosque were completely destroyed at the time and some 4,200 ancient manuscripts were burned or stolen. Mr Al Faqi Al Mahdi was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay 2.7 million euros in reparations to the victims, including the community of Timbuktu, the population of Mali and the international community, which rallied around the reconstrutction of the buildings that was completed in 2015.

Individual and collective reparations began last January. Considering the inestimable universal value of the destroyed buildings, the ICC ordered the symbolic payment of one euro to the Malian State and UNESCO respectively.

UNESCO mobilized around the reconstruction of the ancient mausoleums, the rehabilitation of three mosques and the safeguarding of the ancient manuscripts that were saved with the support of the European Union and Switzerland. This UNESCO action was also made possible by a close partnership with the Malian authorities, the local communities and the masons’ guild of Timbuktu, as well as the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

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