Yesterday, 25 November 2021, a panel of three judges of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC), appointed to review Mr Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi’s sentence decided to reduce his nine year sentence of imprisonment by two years. The date for the completion of his sentence is therefore set to 18 September 2022.
In reaching their decision Judges Solomy Balungi Bossa, presiding, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and Gocha Lordkipanidze, considered several factors in relation to this review, including the possible social instability in Northern Mali that early release may cause, Mr Al Mahdi’s prospect for resocialization and resettlement and his cooperation since he was surrendered to the Court in September 2015. Mindful of the views expressed by the Republic of Mali and the victims, the Judges considered that any reduction of sentence should not be applied to the entirety of Mr Al Mahdi’s remaining term of imprisonment. Therefore, following today’s decision, Mr Al Mahdi will serve the rest of his sentence until 18 September 2022. Necessary arrangements for Mr Al Mahdi’s release will be put in place at that time.
Background: On 27 September 2016, Trial Chamber VIII found Mr Al Mahdi guiltyof the war crime consisting in intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012 and sentenced him to nine years’ imprisonment. Mr Al Mahdi had pleaded guilty at the beginning of the trial. On 17 August 2017, Trial Chamber VIII issued a Reparations Order concluding that Mr Al Mahdi was liable for individual and collective reparations for the community of Timbuktu. Noting that Mr Al Mahdi was indigent, the Chamber encouraged the Trust Funds for Victims to complement the reparations award and directed the TFV to submit a draft implementation plan. On 8 March 2018, the Appeals Chamber confirmed, for the most extent, the Reparations Order. On 4 March 2019, Trial Chamber VIII issued its decision on the Updated Implementation Plan from the Trust Fund for Victims, approving the selection of projects presented by the Trust Fund for Victims in its updated plan, subject to certain conditions.