Rights Groups Fault Rebels for Child Soldiers
The Malian military junta has been pressing the International Criminal Court to move forward with probes of “war crimes” charges among the various rebel factions holding the northern two-thirds of Mali. Yet it is finding itself under scrutiny as well as junta soldiers are being accused of mass detentions without charges and summary executions.
That was the word today from reports by several human rights groups, which confirmed misdeeds by the rebels, including the use of child soldiers by some of the factions, but expressed major concerns about the disappearances of people stopped at Malian military checkpoints.
Mali’s junta has been criticized repeatedly for the behavior of its soldiers, including a September incident in which 16 clerics were captured in Diabaly, en route to a religious conference, and executed by the military. The junta expressed “regret” for the massacre, but insisted it wasn’t their fault because they hadn’t explicitly ordered the troops to massacre the clerics.
The Mali probe is the eighth investigation by the ICC, all of them in Africa, and though junta officials express hope that the probe will focus solely on rebels, officials say they plan an “impartial” investigation across the board.
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