DOUALA, Cameroon - Rehabilitation measures for victims of crimes in central and northern Mali was announced Friday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that includes medical treatment, psychological rehabilitation, including trauma counseling and material and livelihood support.
"Crimes under international law have multiplied in Mali in recent years, particularly in the center and north-east of the country. While waiting for justice to be done, we have decided to put in place measures to rehabilitate victims in these regions," said Mama Koite Doumbia, President of The Victims' Fund for Victims at the ICC that will implement the new program in partnership with organizations in Mali.
Doumbia said in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency that many victims are now in an extremely precarious situation and some have lost their possessions.
"With this decision, we want to enable the survivors to move forward and thus contribute to the transitional justice process," she said.
Mayombo Kassongo, a lawyer for victims in the Al Mahdi case, said in the statement that "although they do not replace the judicial proceedings to which they are entitled, these new measures are very good news for victims in Mali, beyond the victims in Timbuktu.”
Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was found guilty of destroying historical and Islamic monuments in Timbuktu in 2012. He was sentenced to a nine-year prison sentence in 2017 and ordered to pay 2.7 euros ($3.2 million) in reparations to the Timbuktu community.
Kassongo said the “decision is a glimmer of hope" for those affected by “the most serious crimes committed in Mali,” especially "at a time when the victims of Al Mahdi are preparing to receive their first reparations.”
The ICC plans to carry out individual, collective and symbolic judicial reparations for communities in Timbuktu and internationally.
"The first measures are about to be implemented," the court said.
"Protected buildings’ destruction has caused suffering to people across Mali,” the court said.
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