ICC reviews war crimes claims from Mali

April 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, April 24 (UPI) -- The International Criminal Court announced it was vetting reports of rape, killings and other atrocities allegedly committed in Mali.

The ICC said Tuesday it has jurisdiction over possible war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Mali because Mali in 2000 ratified the Rome Statute that created the court.

The court, through the prosecutor's office, said it's been following developments in Mali "closely" since violent clashes erupted Jan. 17.

It said several sources, including senior U.N. officials, have suggested "crimes such as killings, abductions, rapes and conscription of children" may have been committed by "various groups" in northern Mali.

Tuareg rebels, who had fought alongside pro-government forces during last year's civil war in Libya, claimed autonomy for northern Mali following a military coup. The rebel movement is said to be divided between separatist and al-Qaida factions.

Military leaders in Mali handed power to interim President Dioncounda Traore and Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra. Both leaders have pledged to organize elections and to end a rebellion in the north of the country.

The ICC said it would make a decision on whether to conduct a preliminary examination of the situation in Mali "in due course."

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