Lawyers representing almost 2,000 victims of the year long occupation of the shrine city of Timbuktu in Mali by extremists stated their case on Tuesday before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Malian jihadist police chief Al Hassan Mahmoud is on trial accused of war crimes and crimes against Humanity.
One of the lawyers representing the victims described the city as "reduced to a shadow of its former self".
"The Timbuktians were the target of the application of this terrible formula which consists in saying that it is necessary to beat the corpses in order to be respected by the living. The city of Timbuktu was thus reduced to a shadow of its former self and this will be remembered for thousands of years to come", said Seydou Doumbia, a Malian lawyer representing the victims.
Al Hassan is the second Islamist extremist to face trial at the ICC for the destruction of Timbuktu's shrines, following a landmark ruling in 2016 at the world's only permanent war crimes court.