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Architecture-destroying extremist fined $3.2M in groundbreaking case

The fine ordered by the International Criminal Court is the first of its kind, setting a precedent for “crimes against architecture”

Last year, Islamic extremist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi pleaded guilty to acts of cultural destruction by leading a campaign to tear down historic mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012. The International Criminal Court (ICC) found him guilty in the first instance of recognizing the destruction of architecture as a war crime.

Now, the ICC has ordered "individual, collective and symbolic reparations” must be made to the people of Timbuktu, ordering that Al-Mahdi pay €2.7 million ($3.2 million) to the community. But Al-Madhi, who is currently serving nine years in jail for the crime, has no money. The reparations will instead be handled by the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), which will create a plan for how the money will be paid—likely involving the construction of memorials.

“This ruling is important because it acknowledges the cultural damage that war can cause,” said Nick Gestrich, a Malian archaeology researcher who spoke with The Art Newspaper.

“Beyond the physical destruction of the buildings themselves, this has been traumatic to the people of Timbuktu. There are living descendants of the holy men whose mausolea were destroyed and they will welcome the reparations in restoring their ancestors' resting places.”

Via: The Art Newspaper