first witness for the defense

Published on : 10/05/2022 – 14:51Modified : 11/05/2022 – 01:49

Abdulaziz al-Hassan’s trial continues at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The commissioner of the Islamic police in Timbuktu, northern Mali, between 2012 and 2013, is appearing for war crimes and crimes against humanity. At the time, the city was occupied by the Islamist groups Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. This Tuesday, May 10, 2022, the defense questioned its first witness.

This is Dr. Katherine Porterfield, psychologist at New York University, specialist in post-traumatic stress in victims of torture. It is one of the axes of the defense strategy unveiled on Monday during the opening remarks.

A “Guantanamo Malian”

Attorney Melinda Taylor repeatedly recalled the conditions of al-Hassan’s detention at the Bamako State Security Prison before being handed over to the ICC in 2018. The lawyer had called her a “Malian Guantanamo “.

This morning, we heard Dr. Porterfield enumerate the abuse suffered by al-Hassan: beatings, simulated drowning, threats of sexual abuse and execution…“ They told him he would be killed little by little, they drowned him, they hung him to beat him, his jailers told him that there was no one, no judge to take an interest in his fate. Even guards like those of the ICC provoke in him a state of panic. According to her, the former member of the Islamic police has since suffered from severe post-traumatic stress which affects his daily life.

« Random insinuations »

And this is where the defense comes in, questioning the validity of the interrogations that al-Hassan may have undergone, even after 2018 and even in a context of the rule of law, given his traumas. ” Random insinuations “, According to the prosecutor who attempted an objection rejected by the judge. “ When Mr. Al-Hassan fled to Libya with his family, he lost his baby, this does not appear in your report. Mr. Al-Hassan didn’t give you that information? He didn’t tell you anything about everything he went through between 2012 and 2017. Don’t you need this whole timeline to really assess the causes of these traumas? »

The hearings of defense witnesses are continuing today and may last several weeks.

Read also: Mali: the turn of the victims in the ICC trial of Abdulaziz al-Hassan of Ansar Dine