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Mali becomes first African nation to take war crimes prisoners

By Sarah Jones, CNN
updated 7:50 AM EST, Sat January 21, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mali will work with the international tribunal to take in prisoners
  • The court is investigating seven cases, all of which are in Africa
  • It does not have any prisons of its own

(CNN) -- Mali has agreed to take in prisoners convicted by the International Criminal Court, making it the first African country to enforce sentences handed down by the world war crimes tribunal.

The nation will work with the court to take in prisoners in Malian jails, the court said in a statement Friday. The court does not have prisons of its own.

The seven cases the court is investigating are all in Africa -- in Ivory Coast, Libya, Kenya, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Uganda.

Malian Judge and the court's First Vice President Fatoumata Dembele Diarra said the court was grateful to nations that expresses its willingness to help the Court.

Mali's foreign affairs minister said the agreement was its way of renewing its pledge to uphold the Rome Statute that established the court.

"Mali wishes to reaffirm its commitment to human rights and the ideals of international peace and justice," said Sourmeylou Boubeye Maiga, Mali's minister of foreign affairs.

Austria, Belgium, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Serbia and the United Kingdom have also signed agreements with the court on the enforcement of sentences.

While the court is not a part of the United Nations, it maintains a cooperative relationship with the global body.

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