The heritage community was shocked by the destruction of mausoleums and damage to mosques by armed groups in 2012. The criminal conviction that followed sets an important precedent for legal action against those destroying heritage. The pressures of climate change are also evident with torrential rains, sandstorms and other human-caused weather events degrading the earthen tombs and mosques. Considerable funding has been brought to Mali for restoration works. However, stronger community understanding and actions are needed for conservation and management to be effective today and into the future. Patricia ODonnell
Indeed, it was a big shock not only to the local community but also to the international community. In addition to your valuable comment on the climate change issue that affects the protection of the heritage site currently, as a person who has a keen interest in the legal issues in the heritage protection, I'd like to recall the importance of the recognition of the ICC, considering the destruction of the heritage site as a war crime. Let me share the news from UNESCO website in 2016:
"The International Criminal Court (ICC) has recognized Ahmed Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi guilty of war crime and has sentenced him to 9 years in prison for his responsibility in the deliberate destruction in 2012 of nine mausoleums and the secret gate of the Sidi Yahia mosque in UNESCO’s World Heritage site of Timbuktu (Mali)."