BAMAKO, Mali – The International Criminal Court says authorities in Mali have handed over a jihadist leader for prosecution on war crimes charges.
Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud is accused of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Timbuktu while the town was under the control of extremists between April 2012 and January 2013.
In a statement released late Saturday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Al Hassan was accused of persecution on "both religious and gender grounds." Those allegations include rape and sexual slavery through forced marriages.
During the jihadist rule in Timbuktu, the extremists imposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic Shariah law.
A French-led military operation in 2013 forced Al Hassan and others from power, though elements have continued to stage numerous attacks on Malian and international forces.