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Mali: in Timbuktu, victims of crimes committed in the north of the country testify

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                In Mali, the Transitional authorities and the International Criminal Court organized a symbolic reparation ceremony on Tuesday, March 30, in the case of the Timbuktu mausoleums, following the conviction by the ICC, in 2016, of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, of Ansar Dine, who had ordered the destruction of the mausoleums of Timbuktu.  But thousands of victims are still waiting for justice, and testify to their experiences before the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, provided for by the 2015 peace agreement for all crimes committed in the northern regions of Mali since 1960. 

                                    <p><em>From our special correspondent in Timbuktu,</em>

It is a small house that nothing distinguishes it from the others. But its walls have heard some very painful stories. Since January 2017, the tombouctienne branch of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission collected more than 4,200 personal and confidential depositions.

Mamadou Baba Traoré is the head of the Commission antenna in Timbuktu. ” What gives hope is the search for truth and some of the material, pecuniary, sometimes moral, sometimes just forgiveness reparations. Some victims say they just want to be recognized for what has been done to them and apologized », Explains Mamadou Baba Traoré.

He then paints a portrait of the many victims who came to testify. “Most of the victims are victims who fall under the events of 2012(during the period of occupation by Ansar Dine and Aqmi, editor’s note),cases of kidnappings, looting of property, kidnappings. There are still people who, until today, do not know what happened to their parents. »

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► See also: the ICC fund in Bamako to compensate the victims of Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi

“We lost almost everything that was at home”

The witnesses come from the regions of Timbuktu and Taoudeni; itinerant missions have also been organized, but the vastness of the territory to be covered, the cost of travel and security constraints prevent some from testifying. This resident of Timbuktu agrees to speak on the microphone, but without giving her name.

« Our house was hit during the occupation. We lost almost everything that was in our house. There was a detonation in the camps. Luckily, we weren’t in it. From the beginning of the occupation until the end, I did not leave Timbuktu“, she says. Then she adds: “There are all kinds of victims combined: victims of rape, kidnapping … I came to give my testimony. After that, we referred the other victims so that they too could give their testimony in turn. »

► Also to listen: Women victims of rape in northern Mali

Psychological support for victims

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Alidji Sidi Haidara is a transporter. His testimony concerns recent criminal acts, which occurred after the period of jihadist occupation. “I have been held up twice, coming from Goundam, because I provide gravel for companies that are building. Twice, we followed them and were held up. And at the same time, I had yet another heist; there I was in my vehicle with two other women. On the same section, we removed my vehicle and left us like this», Says Alidji Sidi Haidara.

The Commission provides psychological support to victims who so wish. The testimonies collected can then be used by victims who want to initiate, for their part, legal proceedings, or any future national or international reparation initiative.


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