An alleged Islamic radical charged with involvement in the 2012 destruction of historic mausoleums and a mosque in Timbuktu has made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court.

Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi confirmed his identity at the hearing Wednesday and told Judge Cuno Tarfusser he was about 40 years old.

Al Mahdi is the first suspect in the court's custody charged with the war crime of deliberately attacking religious or historical monuments.

He wasn't required to enter a plea and made no comment on the charges when Tarfusser gave him the opportunity.

Tarfusser said a hearing would be held Jan. 18 to assess if evidence against Al Mahdi is strong enough to merit sending him to trial.