On the 16th of January 2013, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda formally opened an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012. This decision was the result of a preliminary examination of the Mali Situation which the Office of the Prosecutor had been conducting since July 2012.
Following a referral of the Situation in Mali by the Malian State, the Office of the Prosecutor may investigate and prosecute any crime, within the ICC’s jurisdiction, committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012. In the course of the preliminary examination, the Office has identified potential cases of sufficient gravity to warrant further action.
Prosecutor Bensouda has determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe the following crimes were committed: (i) murder; (ii) mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (iii) intentionally directing attacks against protected objects; (iv) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court; (v) pillaging, and (vi) rape.
The Prosecutor stated, “My Office will ensure a thorough and impartial investigation and will bring justice to Malian victims by investigating who are the most responsible for these alleged crimes”. The investigation will focus on crimes committed in the three northern regions of Mali based on the information gathered to date.