The International Criminal Court today warned Mali it is considering a probe into reports of mass killings and rapes committed since the outbreak of a secessionist insurgency in January.
The Tuareg rebellion prompted army protests against inadequate supplies and support which “morphed into a coup d’etat against incumbent President Amadou Toumani Toure which, while not too surprising, was largely accidental.”
The ICC warning came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama launched a new initiative to provide an early warning system against mass killings and related atrocities.
Former labor union activist Dioncounda Traore has since assumed the interim presidency following the recent military coup and countering a secessionist rebellion by Northern Tuareg rebels and their allies.The military revolt exposed the fragility of the country’s democratic institutions, say observers.
“It was a mutiny that developed into a coup d’etat because they realized there was a vacuum,” Said Djinnit, head of the United Nations Office for West Africa, told Reuters.
“We all applauded the democratic dispensation in Mali but we now realize that democratic dispensation was very fragile.”
Sub-Saharan African states’ response to the coup will be a measure of their commitment to democracy, analysts suggest.
“As the first military coup in 2012 taking place 21 years after the democratisation process in Mali, this is certainly a major test for the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in force since February 2012,” says David Zounmenou of the Institute for Security Studies.