Malian jihadist police chief, Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, 42, tried on Tuesday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for unimaginable war crimes committed against humanity — including direct and personal involvement with sexual slavery, severe corporal punishment, dismembering and torture when the region was under Islamist military control in 2012 following the Tuareg uprising in the volatile North.
Harald Doornbos, a freelance journalist and witness, shared a few words with the media, "By far, most of the people that I spoke to in Timbuktu, and this is of course post what they would call 'liberation,' they really had the feeling they were liberated, that the town was liberated by the French army and Malian army. Everybody was very happy that the jihadists left."
Al Hassan is the second Islamist extremist to face trial at the ICC for the destruction of the Timbuktu shrines, following a landmark 2016 ruling at the world's only permanent war crimes court.
ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the court that Al Hassan admitted to Timbuktu residents living in terror during his group’s occupation. Now the fabled shrine city is seeing tombs be rebuilt upon the expulsion of the jihadists.