RELIGION

Lawyer: Timbuktu residents felt shame after sites destroyed

  • Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, center, appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday Aug. 22, 2016, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. Prosecutors allege that Al Mahdi was a member of an al Qaida-linked occupying force that destroyed most of Timbuktu's World Heritage-listed mausoleums in 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, Pool)

    Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, center, appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday Aug. 22, 2016, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. Prosecutors allege that Al Mahdi was a member of an al Qaida-linked occupying force that destroyed most of Timbuktu's World Heritage-listed mausoleums in 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. Prosecutors allege that Al Mahdi was a member of an al Qaida-linked occupying force that destroyed most of Timbuktu's World Heritage-listed mausoleums in 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, Pool)

    Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. Prosecutors allege that Al Mahdi was a member of an al Qaida-linked occupying force that destroyed most of Timbuktu's World Heritage-listed mausoleums in 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. Prosecutors allege that Al Mahdi was a member of an al Qaida-linked occupying force that destroyed most of Timbuktu's World Heritage-listed mausoleums in 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, Pool)

    Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi appears at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, at the start of his trial on charges of involvement in the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. Prosecutors allege that Al Mahdi was a member of an al Qaida-linked occupying force that destroyed most of Timbuktu's World Heritage-listed mausoleums in 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Post, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

A lawyer for residents of Timbuktu has told International Criminal Court judges that the destruction by Islamic extremists of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert left them feeling shame at the desecration of their saints and ancestors.

Mayombo Kassongo, who is representing victims at the trial of Muslim radical Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, also said Wednesday that the destruction in 2012 of the World Heritage-listed sites wasn't only a spiritual blow to residents, but also a financial one, as it crippled tourism in the remote city.

Victims of crimes are eligible to claim financial reparations following trials at the ICC.

Al Mahdi pleaded guilty and expressed remorse Monday for his role in leading the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque door in Timbuktu.