This file photo taken on August 22, 2016 shows alleged Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi looking on during an appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. / AFP / ANP / Patrick POST
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A Malian extremist faces judgement Tuesday in a landmark case before the International Criminal Court for razing Timbuktu's fabled shrines, with experts hoping it will send a strong message to safeguard the world's ancient monuments.A three-judge bench will hand down its verdict and sentence at 0930 GMT against Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, the first extremist to stand trial at the tribunal in The Hague.As the head of the so-called Hisbah or "Manners Brigade," it was Mahdi, a former teacher and Islamic scholar, who gave the orders to ransack the sites.Even though the list of UNESCO world heritage sites appears to be growing there is little hope that those behind attacks on monuments in Iraq and Syria will find themselves in the dock any time soon.
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