by Jennifer Breedon
The International Criminal Court (ICC) recently prosecuted and convicted Al Qaeda member Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi for the desecration of religious and cultural places in Timbuktu, Mali – a case that effectively extended the reach of the ICC to prosecute for war crimes Al Qaeda operatives that desecrate culturally significant sites.
See a summary of the proceedings against Al-Mahdi below
A Witness from al-Mahdi’s ICC trial was recorded stating, “These priceless
With the ICC’s declaration that this type of destruction amounts to a “war crime,” a precedent has been established for Assyrian and Chaldean Christians in Iraq and within the U.S. to bring claims against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) for the wanton destruction of their churches, manuscripts and historical artifacts throughout Iraq over the past few years.
Equally important is that this precedent could now be used against members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to bring them to The Hague to answer for their crimes of cultural and historical destruction.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt destroyed over 50 sacred and culturally historic Coptic Churches throughout Egypt in 2013 and committed a vast array of violent offenses against the Christians in Egypt. Today, Brotherhood-tied Egyptians still threaten those working to reform Islamist laws that oppress women and minorities.
Egyptians Copts that live in America or retain dual citizenship should bring civil lawsuits against these Brotherhood members, not only for the cultural destructions that took place by their hands, but also for the continued violence to which their brethren are subjected.
An added and major benefit of allowing U.S. citizens to file suits in the ICC against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is that it will serve to begin to repair the fractured relationship between Egypt’s President el-Sisi and the United States.
Sisi’s government has been distrustful of the U.S. due to its unwillingness to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Allowing U.S. citizens to bring law suits against Brotherhood offenses in coordination with the Egyptian government could go a long way to restoring those affected by Brotherhood violence and restoring our ties to Egypt, a major American ally.
Watch a summary of the ICC proceedings against Al-Mahdi: