Call to probe Mali military for international crimes


Wargner Group. Photo by AFP

from RUDD KONTE in Bamako, Mali
Mali Bureau
BAMAKO, (CAJ News) – UNITED Nations (UN) experts have called for investigations into gross human rights violations and possible war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Mali by government forces, military and private security since 2021.

Experts said they received accounts of executions, mass graves, acts of torture, rape and sexual violence, looting, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances perpetrated by the armed forces and their allies in the northern Mopti region and elsewhere.

This is in the context of the ongoing hostilities.

Most of the victims were from the Fulani minority.

“We are particularly concerned by credible reports that, over several days at the end of March 2022, the Malian armed forces, accompanied by soldiers suspected of belonging to the Wagner group, executed several hundred people, who had been gathered in Moura, a village in central Mali,” the UN experts said.

The experts are Reem Alsalem, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Jelena Aparac, Aua Baldé, Grażyna Baranowska, Gabriella Citroni, Carlos Salazar Couto, Ravindran Daniel, Alice Jill Edwards, Luciano Hazan, Chris Kwaja, Sorcha MacLeod, Angkhana Neelapaijit and Fernand de Varennes.

They lamented the apparent increase in the allocation of traditional military functions to the Wagner group in various military operations, including operations defined as counter-terrorism.

The experts jointly urged Mali to exercise vigilance to prohibit the direct participation in hostilities of all individuals operating on its territory.

“The use of mercenaries, mercenary-like actors and private military and security companies only exacerbates the cycle of violence and impunity that prevails in the country.”

The experts raised their concerns directly with the Malian government, which had not commented.

Mali, the nation of some 21,9 million people, has suffered perpetual conflict since a military coup in 1968, eight years after independence from France.

– CAJ News