UNESCO Head Irina Bokova: The Hague Trial is an Important Sign

Written by on August 22, 2016 in Bulgaria, Politics - No comments

For the first time ever, a jihadist is on trial for the destruction of a cultural heritage, at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The accused is a leader of Ansar Dine, a terror organization affiliated with al Qaida. Four years ago, the group had destroyed the cultural heritage of Timbuktu, an act which is considered a war crime.

In western European news reports, the prosecution in The Hague was quoted saying, this was not just about walls and stones. Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said, this had been “a reckless attack on the dignity and identity of the population, along with its religious and historic roots.” If convicted, the accused will most likely face jail time.

The Bulgarian Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, stated, this trial was a resonating signal. It is definitely a precedent, since it is the first trial of this kind. Bokova said, attacks of this kind were part of a strategy of “cultural cleansing”. The perpetrators chose this kind of strategy, in order to spread fear and hatred. “The destruction of cultural heritage”, Bokova said, “can not be separated from the persecution of people”.

According to france24.com, the accused, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, pleaded guilty today. The trial might therefore not take long.

By im.
Picture: UNESCO

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