Mali authorities say they will prosecute those behind UN report that accused military of abuses
Jun 20, 2023, 10:12 AM
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Malian authorities will launch an espionage prosecution against the people behind a U.N. report that accused the country’s military of committing human rights violations alongside Russian mercenaries, Mali’s public prosecutor said.
The announcement comes amid growing uncertainty about the future of the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in Mali after Foreign Affairs Minister Abdoulaye Diop recently made a formal request for all peacekeepers to depart immediately.
The May report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights accused the Malian army and Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group of killing at least 500 civilians during an airborne mission in Moura, located in central Mali.
Through interviews with witnesses, alongside analysis of forensic and satellite data, the U.N. report found “strong indications” of summary executions, torture, and rape by Malian and foreign forces in the March 2022 raid.
Acting Public Prosecutor Ladji Sara said those behind the report are “all co-perpetrators or accomplices in the crimes of espionage, undermining the morale of the army or air force, forgery and use of forgeries, and undermining the external security of the State, among others.”
The statement is the latest in a series of rebukes by Mali’s interim government of foreign involvement in the West African nation. Since seizing power in a pair of coups beginning in 2020, Col. Assimi Goïta’s transitional government has expelled members of the restricted peacekeeping operations, and strengthened ties with the Wagner mercenary group.