France, Mali Pressed to Probe War Crimes

Summary Executions and Air Strikes Against Civilians a Growing Concern

by Jason Ditz, February 01, 2013

French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Mali today is taking on a much grimmer done, as Amnesty International added its voice to a chorus of human rights groups calling on them to investigate war crimes against civilians and soaring human rights violations since the war began.

The issues are the same that have been going on since the war began, civilians getting killed in French air strikes and torture and summary executions at the hands of the Malian junta, which France is trying to install across the northern half of the nation.

France has mostly been reacted to concerns about human rights violations by insisting that they trust the junta to make adjustments in the future, while the junta itself has been completely ambivalent, switching from complete denial to insisting that it is no big deal.

The ethnic split between the junta dominated south and the rest of the country has led to open persecution on the basis of race, with Malians of Arab and Tuareg extraction facing suspicion of being rebel sympathizers, risking open-ended detention and even execution if they run afoul of junta forces.

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