UN to investigate 'crimes against humanity' in Mali

UN investigators into political violence in Mali reported to the Security Council that they found evidence that government forces have committed "war crimes," while jihadists and other armed groups perpetrated "crimes against humanity." The allegations are made in a 338-page report compiled by the International Commission of Inquiry, a three-member panel examining events in Mali over the six years after it spiralled into conflict in 2012. The Commission was created in January 2018 as part of the Agreement for Peace & Reconciliation between rebels and the government, which was signed in 2015 after years of fighting. The report, which has not yet been made public, recommends establishing a special court to try accused perpetrators. (France24, Dec. 23)

The report's recommendations are being met with some wariness in Mali. Pape Diallo, an activist with the opposition June 5 Movement-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), called for foreign militaries operating in the country to be covered in the scope of the investigation—including France. If France is not also investigated, Diallo said it would raise "questions of double standards that...highlight the very dubious intentions of the international community in the management and final resolution of the crisis in Mali." (TRT World)

See our last post on war crimes in Mali.

Mali: French air attack on wedding party?

More than 20 people, including children, were reported killed in an air-strike during a wedding ceremony in central Mali on Jan. 2. Residents of Bounti, in the central Mopti region, said a helicopter opened fire on the ceremony. The French military said it carried out a strike on jihadist militants in central Mali, but that no wedding was involved.

Five French soldiers have been killed in attacks in Mali in recent days. (BBC News)

Mali court ends trial of former coup leader

A court in Mali’s capital Bamako ended the trial of former coup leader Amadou Sanogo on March 15. Sanogo was accused of involvement in the killings of 21 soldiers during a 2012 coup he led. The court also ended proceedings against 15 other defendants, citing a 2019 reconciliation law offering amnesty for specific crimes committed during the coup. The court's decision not to charge Sanogo will anger rights defenders in Mali, where armed forces are often accused of abuses. Fellow coup leader Col. Assimi Goita is currently serving as interim vice president. (Jurist)