The International Criminal Court and Crimes Against Cultural Heritage in Timbuktu

Joy, Charlotte. 2018. The International Criminal Court and Crimes Against Cultural Heritage in Timbuktu. Anthropology Today, 34(1), pp. 15-17. ISSN 0268-540X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

On 3 March 2016, Ahmad al‐Faqi al‐Mahdi sat in a courtroom at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and became the first person to be prosecuted for the destruction of cultural sites as a war crime. In this article, the author argues that it is no coincidence that the first case the ICC has brought to justice involves a UNESCO World Heritage site. She charts the history of the relationship between Mali and UNESCO and the history of Islam in Mali. Through taking a historical perspective, current events can be seen as part of an ongoing ‘conversation’ about the future of the country. The ICC trial also has wider ramifications for the anthropological study of material culture and cultural heritage as it resists a plural understanding of people’s entanglement with sites and objects and demands instead a return to certainty.

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17 June 2016Accepted
1 February 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2016 10:08

Last Modified:

13 Apr 2021 15:54

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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