IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


27th June, 2024 International Relations


Source: Geography.name

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Context: ICC convicts Mali insurgency chief of war crimes



International Criminal Court (ICC) Verdict:

  • Guilty Verdict: Issued for Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud
  • Crimes:
  • War crimes
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Sentencing: To be determined; potential for life imprisonment.

Charges and Allegations:

  • Specific Crimes:
  • Torture
  • Rape and sexual slavery
  • Destruction of religious and historic buildings
  • Crime time period
  • The crimes are believed to have taken place when al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, a group known as Ansar Dine, took over the Malian ancient city of Timbuktu in early 2012 for almost a year.

What was Al Hassan accused of?

  • Prosecutor's Statements:
  • Fatou Bensouda described an incident where a man’s hand was amputated for petty theft
  • Accusations of targeting and abusing women, including forced marriages and repeated rapes
  • Flogging of women accused of adultery

Mali under Islamist insurgents

  • Militants from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar Dine exploited northern Mali’s 2012 ethnic Tuareg uprising, seizing control of Malian cities including Timbuktu.
  • They were driven out by a 2013 French-led military operation. However, the dent of their rule lasted much longer.

Broader Impact:

  • Ongoing Insurgency:
    • Islamist insurgency continues in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger
    • Over a decade of conflict
  • Political Instability:
    • Military juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger following coups

Other Charges:

  • Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi:
    • Ansar Dine member
    • Sentenced by ICC to nine years in prison in 2016 for destroying religious sanctuaries in Timbuktu. inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
    • Sentence reduced to two years on appeal in 2021

International Criminal Court

  • It is the only permanent international criminal tribunal.
  • It was created by the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and began functioning on 1 July 2002 .
  • Mandate: It investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
  • HQ: Hague, Netherlands.
  • Members: 123 nations are States Parties to the Rome Statute and recognize the ICC’s authority; the notable exceptions being the US, China, Russia, and India.
  • Funding: The Court is funded by contributions from the States Parties and by voluntary contributions from Governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations, and other entities.
  • Composition:
  • Judges: The court has eighteen judges, each from a different member country,elected to nonrenewable nine-year terms.
  • The Presidency:Consists of three judges (the President and two Vice-Presidents) elected from among the judges. It represents the Court to the outside world and helps with the organization of the work of the judges.
  • Official Language and Offices
  • It has 6 official languages: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
  • ICC has 6 field offices: Kinshasa and Bunia (Democratic Republic of the Congo, "DRC"); Kampala (Uganda); Bangui (Central African Republic, "CAR"); Nairobi (Kenya), Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire).
  • It has 2 working languages: English and French.
  • Jurisdiction of ICC:
  • Unlike the International Court of Justice, which hears disputes between states, the ICC handles prosecutions of individuals
  • The ICC is only competent to hear a case if:
    • the country where the offencewas committed is a party to the Rome Statute; or
    • the perpetrator's countryof origin is a party to the Rome Statute
  • The ICC may only exerciseits jurisdiction if the national court is unable or unwilling to do so.
  • The ICC only has jurisdictionover offences committed after the Statute’s entry into force on 1 July 2002.


  • Area 478,640 square mi (1,240,000 square km)
  • Population 17.09 million (2014)
  • Capital Bamako
  • Location: Landlocked Republic, largest country in West Africa
  • Borders:
    • Northeast: Algeria
    • Northwest: Mauritania
    • West: Senegal, Guinea
    • South: Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso
    • Southeast: Niger
  • Capital and Major Cities:
    • Capital: Bamako (largest city)
    • Other cities: Kayes, Sikasso, Segou, Mopti, Djenne, Timbuktu (Tombouctou), Gao
  • Climate:
    • Arid or semi-arid
    • Only 4 percent arable land
  • Resources
    • Primary Natural Resources gold, phosphates, kaolin, salt, limestone.
  • Major Rivers:
    • Niger
    • Bani (joins Niger at Mopti)
    • Senegal (southwest)


  • Ethnic Diversity:
    • South: Mande peoples (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke) - 50%
    • Central: Peuls/Fulanis - 17%, Voltaic peoples - 12%, Songhai - 6%
    • North: Tuareg and Moors - 10%
    • Others: 5% (minuscule ethnic groups scattered throughout the country)
  • Religion:
    • Muslim - 90%
    • Indigenous religions - 9%
    • Christian - 1%
  • Language:
    • Official: French
    • Widely spoken: Bambara


  • Consistently ranked among the poorest countries in the world
  • Imports most basic resources due to lack of farmland and consistent water sources
  • Mineral-rich but economic woes and political struggles hinder exploitation

India Mali Bilateral Relationship

  • Diversified Engagement Sectors:
    • Health and pharmaceuticals
    • Information and communication technologies
    • Higher education
    • Clean and renewable energy
    • Agriculture and agro-industries
    • Cotton and textiles
    • Smart cities
    • Infrastructure development
    • Harnessing of Mali’s natural resources
  • Promotion of Bilateral Trade and Commerce:
    • Indian Mission in Mali organizes and participates in various events
    • Encourages Indian entrepreneurs to explore opportunities in Mali

Indian Mission in Mali & Soft Diplomacy:

  • Cultural Engagement:
    • India participated in multiple Malian festivals and cultural events across various cities including Bamako, Segou, Sikasso, Koulikoro, and Kita.
    • Collaboration with leading Malian festivals like Bama’Art and Festival Ali Farka Touré
    • Stand-alone cultural events organized by the Embassy, supported by the Indian business community
  • Notable Events:
    • Mali's cultural troupe participated in India’s National Tribal Festival in Chhattisgarh (October 2021)

Bilateral Agreements between India and Mali

  • Protocol on Foreign Office Consultations (2009)
  • Agreement on Political, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation (2009)
  • MOU on Cooperation in Geology and Mineral Resources (2012)
  • Cultural Exchange Programme (September 2016)
  • MOU on Standards between the Bureau of Indian Standards and Direction Nationale De Industries, Mali (September 2016)

Indian Community in Mali:

  • Community Contributions:
    • Five bore wells with overhead water tanks, pumps, and taps at schools, a hospital, a police academy, and the World Vegetable Centre
    • CSR activities supported by the Indian community
    • Creation of drinking water facilities in Bamako, including:
    • Growing goodwill and appreciation from the Malian community and dignitaries
  • Economic Contributions:
    • Engagement in various sectors such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, mining, cement and steel production, soaps and chemicals, cashew processing, white goods trading, agro-industries, tea, tractors, tiles, two-and three-wheelers, restaurants, travel, and tourism

Development Partnership:

  • Line of Credit:
    • USD 100 million for a 400 km electricity transmission line from Sikasso to Bamako
    • Progressing well despite challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and ECOWAS sanctions

India’s Exports to Mali

  • The main items of India’s export to Mali, valued at US$ 207.56 million in 2021-22, were drugs and pharmaceutical products, cotton fabrics, boilers, commercial vehicles (Tata & Mahindra) and two wheelers (TVS & Bajaj), transport equipment and accessories, equipment and machinery for electricity transmission, electronics, equipment for bore-wells, cycle parts, machinery for ago-processing industries, tractors and agricultural implements, articles of iron and steel, plastics, rubber and rubber articles, imitation jewellery, rice, tea, biscuits, candy, construction material and processed food items etc.

Mali’s Exports to India

  • The main items of import from Mali, valued US$ 22.85 million in 2021-22, were raw cotton, lac, gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts, edible fruit and nuts like the Shea nuts, wood products, lead etc


  • Higher Education:
    • Growing interest among Malian youth in studying in India due to high-quality education at affordable prices
    • ICCR increased scholarships for Malian nationals
    • Seventy slots for Malian professionals under India’s ITEC program
    • Mali has been offered the e-VidyaBharati and e-AarogyaBharati (e-VBAB) Network Project to provide free tele-education courses in various academic disciplines and free continuing medical education to doctors/nurses/para-medical staff including free medical consultancy with 100% scholarships
    • Increasing number of self-financed Malian students in Indian universities
  • International Solar Alliance: Mali signed and ratified the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement on 2 October 2017

it is clear that India’s modern foreign policy is evolving to meet the variety of challenges and aspirations that continue to dominate its national agenda. India’s active involvement in bilateral and multilateral forums which are of regional and global significance. This would suggest that India’s foreign policy has been designed to provide it with greater options and flexibility, both nationally to deal with internal challenges and internationally to enhance its regional and global influence


IndisnExpress, FinancialExpress


Q.  Give an account on bilateral relation between India and Mali. 200 words