5 June 2013 - Security Council - Sudan/Report of the ICC Prosecutor – Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I would like to convey my gratitude to the Prosecutor for her briefing. There are great many lessons to be learned from the report.
As Ms. Bensouda has noted by referring to resolution 2091 (2013), adopted on 14 February, and to the recent data published by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there is no disagreement within the international community regarding the current state of affairs. The fate of civilians in Darfur remains unacceptable. The Government and the militia forces that it has integrated within the security forces continue to target civilians. Neither the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) nor the humanitarian personnel present there enjoys the necessary freedom of access to exercise their protection mandate.
The Prosecutor has identified a number of areas of concern, which we share. Despite the Government’s attempts to dissimulate, the reports confirm aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force, which is mostly affecting civilians. Sudanese security forces are involved in attacks on civilians, which are hastily represented as intertribal clashes. Sexual violence in displaced persons camps is widespread. Human rights defenders, international experts and humanitarian workers are threatened. The work of humanitarian workers and UNAMID is obstructed, keeping them from preventing incidents and providing relief to civilians.
Nearly nine years after the referral to the Court by the Council, four individuals accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including one accused of genocide, continue to evade the Court, in full sight of all, despite the arrest warrants issued against them by the International Criminal Court. President Al-Bashir, former militia leader Ali Kushayb, Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein and current governor of South Kordofan Ahmed Haroun are free. Those four people, who are wanted for the massacre and displacement of thousands of civilians or accused of having committed genocide in ways they hoped would be invisible, including through rape, persecution and the intentional blocking of access to aid, are still in key positions and able to order further abuses. As highlighted in the Council, impunity has encouraged them to use the same methods in South Kordofan as in Darfur. It is the same crime, same perpetrators, same modus operandi and, especially, same victims — civilians.
There is also no disagreement on how to break the cycle of violence. All facets of the Peace Agreement must be implemented in good faith and extended to the rebel groups that continue to refuse to enter into negotiations; civilians must be protected by allowing UNAMID to implement its mandate; humanitarian access must be ensured; and those responsible for crimes must be prosecuted. The Council has said as much, and the African Union does not say otherwise.
The Office of the Prosecutor and the Judges of the Court have done their share of work through preliminary analysis of crimes, investigations, the issuance of five arrest warrants against four individuals and legal proceedings against rebels who have decided to give themselves up voluntarily. The first trial against the rebel leaders is set for May 2014 for the attacks against peacekeeping soldiers in Haskanita.
The Sudan, in turn, is not fulfilling its responsibilities. Despite repeated announcements and the increase in the number of special national courts meant to prosecute serious crimes committed in Darfur, no legal proceedings have been undertaken. Unlike Libya, which is legally committed to the ICC, the Sudan has taken no steps to try the persons who have been charged. The Prosecutor’s Office has reviewed the work of all the special courts established since 2005. They have done nothing. Criminals have full immunity. That is also the finding of the African Union High-level Panel on Darfur.
Finally, I note that the implementation of the peace process has serious gaps. Reconstruction is stalled, the return of displaced persons and refugees has been delayed, and the resurgence of fighting has increased populations’ insecurity. Given this situation, what can we do?
First, we must encourage cooperation by all. All those who support the Court must be thanked. We know, however, that two countries have refused to cooperate over the past six months. We must respond to the letters we have received from the Court through the Secretary-General on issues of non-cooperation.
Secondly, we must isolate and punish the criminals. We welcome in this respect the guidelines issued by the Secretary-General on limiting contact with persons wanted by the Court to what is essential for the Organization. We must apply these guidelines consistently.
In particular, it would not seem to be good policy to allow contact with the accused when the chance that that might improve the situation is minimal. Another option, which has repeatedly discussed but not yet undertaken, is to register individuals subject to an arrest warrant on the list established by the Sanctions Committee. I recall in this respect that paragraph 3 of resolution 1591 (2005) provides explicitly that people who violate international humanitarian law or international human rights law may be subject to sanctions.
Thirdly and finally, the Council must once again be united in exerting real pressure on the parties to end the violations committed against civilians. We regret, in this respect, that some refuse to recognize the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation, which is nevertheless ongoing and indisputable.
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