The attacks in Bamako and Kidal are to be added to the long list of war crimes and crimes against humanity

Press release
en fr

(Bamako, Paris) FIDH, its member organisation in Mali, AMDH, and 13 Malian civil society organisations, strongly condemn the attacks perpetrated on November 20, 2015 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako and on November 28 in Kidal, which may be qualified as international crimes according to the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Our organisations express their utmost solidarity with the victims and their families. They urge the Malian authorities, the international forces present in Mali and the countries engaged in supporting the peace process to strengthen the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes perpetrated in Mali since 2012, particularly by accelerating the legal proceedings initiated by our organisations.

On November 20, 2015 in Bamako, at least two armed individuals attacked the Radisson Blue Hotel in Bamako around 7:00am on Friday and targeted 170 guests and employees. After several hours of waiting and after an assault by the Malian security forces, backed by French, US and international forces, 150 people were rescued, but 20 were executed and 9 others were wounded by the armed commando. Two assailants were killed during the assault.

On November 28, 2015, in Kidal, in the north‑east of Mali, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was targeted by rocket attacks which killed two Guinean peacekeepers and one civilian employee. By evening, the armed Salafist group Ansar Dine, led by Iyad Ag Ghali, claimed responsibility for the attack through a phone call undertook by Hamadou Ag Khallini, one of the Ansar Dine leaders, to the France Press agency (Agence France Presse - AFP).

"We unanimously condemn these cowardly and despicable attacks intentionally directed against civilians and against the international forces in the country. These acts are part of the long list of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Mali by armed groups, crimes which should be legally prosecuted as such. We honour the memory of the victims and relate to the pain felt by the wounded and the families.”

Our organisations

On November 21, 2015, the armed groups Al Marabitoune of Mokthar Belmokthar and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) jointly claimed responsibility for the 20 November attack in Bamako. These armed terrorist groups have been operating, under these names or other names, in the north of Mali since the end of the 2000s. Al Marabitoune of Mokhtar Belmokhtar was created from a split with AQMI and in particular conducted the 6 March 2015 attack in Bamako and the January 2013 attack in Al Amenas, in Algeria. On November 23, 2015, another armed terrorist group, the Macina Liberation Front (FLM), along with another armed group Ansar Dine, also claimed responsibility (link only available in French) for the attack in Bamako on November 20, 2015.

These different armed Salafist groups were particularly established in the Timbuktu region during the occupation of North Mali by the armed Jihadist and separatist groups during 2012. The investigations led by our organisations were able to demonstrate that not only do these groups remain active in the Timbuktu region, in the North and the centre of Mali, but that they were responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. On March 6, 2015, our organisations filled a complaint to the Malian judicial authorities (link only available in French) against AQMI, Al Marabitoune and Ansar Dine leaders, including Iyad Ag Ghali, for the crimes particularly committed during the occupation of Timbuktu and its region in 2012. Several dozen Jihadists were, however, released as part of the peace accord and prisoner exchanges.

“We urge the Malian authorities to ensure the continuation of a real policy to fight against impunity, an indispensable means to fight against terrorism and the grave violations of human rights in Mali, as in the rest of the world. The implementation of a judicial strategy to prosecute terrorist acts as international crimes, by creating in particular a judicial centre specialised in these crimes, should permit information sharing from the fight against terrorism, investigating these crimes in a comprehensive and coherent manner and respecting civil liberties.”

Our organisations

These attacks have occurred at a difficult time during which terrorist attacks have been carried out in many countries such as France, Mali, Niger, the Cameroon, Nigeria, Turkey and Lebanon, and which have killed and wounded several hundred people. We stand in solidarity with all these people and call on populations to unite against terrorism and defend peace so as not to give way to despicable acts impeding their freedom and universal human rights.

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