Keywords: Cultural Property; Destruction; Crime of War; International Criminal Court; World Heritage List; Admission of Guilt.
By a judgment of 27 September 2016 the International Criminal Court decided its first case relating to the destruction of cultural property. Mr. Al Mahdi was convicted of the war crime of attacking protected objects in the city of Timbuktu, Mali, and was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment. All the destructed properties were dedicated to religion and almost all were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Court found that their attack was of particular gravity and did not only affect the direct victims, but also the people of Mali and the international community. Mr. Al Mahdi admitted his guilt, cooperated with the Prosecutor and apologized for his conduct. While under the Court Statute the destruction of cultural property is a crime of war, it is not a crime against humanity if committed in time of peace.