Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi facing trial at the Hague (Photo: Reuters)

The International Criminal Court at the Hague is making a historic trial today with the arraignment of Mali’s Islamist militant, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi.

Mahdi is charged with the destruction of fourteen mausoleums and the door of a mosque which are part of historical cultural artifacts of the ancient city  of Timbuktu. The trial is the first time the ICC would try anyone for the crime of destroying historical relics.


One of the mausoleums in Timbuktu destroyed by Ahmad al-Faqi’s rebel group(Photo: AFP)

What Mahdi and his rebel group destroyed in Timbuktu are believed to date back to the 14th century when the city flourished as a centre of trade, learning and Sufi Islam.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years if convicted. However, he indicated during a hearing in March that he intended to plead guilty to the charges.