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The shrines have now been rebuilt and Reuters Toby Sterling in Amsterdam says Mahdi wants to leave all that behind.>> He pleaded guilty. He said that he in fact had done everything that he was accused of doing, smashing these ancient shrines that date back to the 14th century.
He was very remorseful, he told the judges that it was the biggest mistake of his life and that he actually hoped for a long prison sentence. Long enough that he could be forgiven by his own society and eventually reintegrated.>> The case is a first for the ICC on three counts.
It's their first hardline Islamist, their first guilty plea, and the first indictment focused on the destruction of cultural artifacts. Mahdi's confession is likely to lead to a conviction, which is also rare for this court.>> That there haven't been that many convictions actually in the 14 years that it's been in existence, there have only been three other convictions.
It's very likely now that he will be convicted, though that still has to happen. It also saves a lot of time and money, to put it bluntly, for the court to have a case that goes smoothly and where everyone agrees what's been done is a crime.>> The ICC now also being urged to charge Islamic State fighters for the destruction of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.
Syria isn't a member of the ICC, this is only possible if the UN refers the case and even if that happens, it's unlikely to play out as smoothly as this.>>