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3 December 2008 - Statement by Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, Permanent representative of France to the UN, on the ICC Prosecutor Briefing , in the Security Council Chamber

Submission of the report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Security Council.

I would first like to thank Mr. Moreno-Ocampo for the report he submitted to us pursuant to resolution 1593 (2005).

In 2005, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the ICC, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, in response to the extremely serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in this region. Unfortunately, the Prosecutor’s most recent biannual report confirms that six years on, the violations have continued and that crimes that come under the ICC’s jurisdiction and within the scope of resolution 1593 are still being perpetrated in Darfur. Therefore, referring this case to the ICC remains fully justified today.

In its preamble, the Rome Statute emphasizes that crimes as serious as those committed in Darfur "threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world" and affirms that "the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished". The explanation for the Security Council’s action is thus implicit in these words. We adopted resolution 1593 precisely because the fight against impunity is inextricably linked with restoring peace and security in Darfur. By implementing the provisions of article 13 of the Rome Statute, the Security Council — the UN’s main peacekeeping and security body — has fully accomplished the mission conferred upon it through the United Nations Charter.

Since adopting resolution 1593, three investigations into the crimes committed in Darfur have been opened by the Prosecutor. The first led the Court to issue arrest warrants for Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The second led the prosecution to request an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Lastly, in the third, the Prosecutor submitted prosecution material for war crimes against three rebel leaders accused of carrying out the Haskanita attack against the African Union forces.

In the first case, the Sudanese government still has yet to cooperate with the Court as regards the execution of the arrest warrants for Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb. For the time being, we have no reason to believe that the Sudanese government has any intention of executing these arrest warrants as Mr. Harun has still not been relieved of his ministerial duties.

In the two other cases, we are awaiting the Court’s decision, which will be delivered independently on the merits of the prosecution material. As the Prosecutor has emphasized, no proceeding is currently underway in Sudanese courts as regards the cases that have been submitted to the ICC.

Mr. President,

France backs the Security Council’s authority, as well as that of the International Criminal Court, as the judicial body responsible for punishing the most serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights.

The responsibility for the current situation in Darfur is neither incumbent upon the Security Council, which has taken measures it deemed essential for peacekeeping and restoring peace, nor the International Criminal Court (and its various bodies), which has been entrusted with a mission that it has been carrying out independently.

The Sudanese authorities must cooperate with the International Criminal Court as regards executing the arrest warrants for Messrs. Haroun and Kushayb, and they could, for example, in accordance with articles 17 to 19 of the Rome Statute, initiate proceedings against the accused in Sudanese courts.

Furthermore, the Sudanese authorities bear a heavy responsibility for obstructing international deployment and the work of humanitarian operators in Darfur, for the cross-border activity of armed groups attempting to destabilize neighbouring Chad, and for the current lack of prospects with regard to a political solution to the crisis. Although recent progress has been made in the deployment of UNAMID, the renewal of the moratorium on restrictions on humanitarian operations and the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Chad, this does not mean radical policy change on the part of the Sudanese authorities in Darfur. The attacks are continuing despite the declaration of a unilateral suspension of hostilities, the Janjaweed militia are still operating unhindered and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The rebels must fully participate in reducing violence, complying with international law and actively reopening the political process.

As the Prosecutor did in his report, I would like to recall the terms of the statement by the Security Council President, adopted by the Council, our Council, on 16 June last. In this statement, the Council "took note of the efforts made by the Prosecutor to bring to justice the perpetrators of the crimes in Darfur" and noted the transmittal of arrest warrants to the Sudanese Government, as well as the opening of other investigations on crimes committed by various parties in Darfur. In this respect, the Council urged "the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur to cooperate fully with the Court, consistent with resolution 1593 (2005), in order to put an end to impunity for the crimes committed in Darfur."

This statement by the President of the Security Council still holds entirely true. The Sudanese Government’s challenge to both the authority of the Security Council and the competence of the Court is unacceptable. We must remind Sudan of its obligations to comply with Security Council resolutions and cooperate with the International Criminal Court in implementing resolution 1593. In the interests of peace and justice, the Security Council gave the Court the responsibility of fighting impunity in Darfur in 2005. As stated in resolution 1593, the Sudanese government must cooperate with the Court to carry out this mission, as must all other parties to the conflict in Darfur, and more generally, all relevant States and regional and international organizations.



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