I thank Prosecutor Bensouda for her report and her presentation on the proceedings and investigations being conducted by the International Criminal Court in Darfur on the basis of resolution 1593 (2005). I should like to make three comments.
First, based on the mandate entrusted to it by the Council, the Court has done its work: analysis of national judicial proceedings in the Sudan — or, rather, the lack thereof; investigations; the issuing of arrest warrants against four individuals; judicial proceedings at The Hague against rebel leaders who have decided to voluntarily surrender; and witness protection efforts. The beginning of the first trial, against Abdallah Banda for attacks against peacekeeping troops, is an important milestone. That first public trial will make it possible to concretely raise the massive crimes committed in Darfur.
My second observation is somewhat darker. As the Prosecutor said this morning, impunity persists in Darfur and the most vulnerable — women in particular — remain the first victims. Four senior officials accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, one of them, of genocide continue to evade the efforts of the Court despite the arrest warrants issued against them.
My third point is: what can the Council do? There are courses of action. The first is to support the International Criminal Court. This meeting provides an opportunity to reiterate our confidence in the Prosecutor and to express our conviction that the Court contributes to the solution of conflicts in Africa and the world. It would undoubtedly be useful to demonstrate that support by ensuring that the next Council resolution on Darfur reflect the concerns of the Prosecutor concerning aerial bombardments, controlling and disarming militias, sexual violence, and the need for cooperation from the Sudan with the International Criminal Court.
On a parallel track, there is support the peace process. Since our last meeting (see S/PV.6974), the security situation has deteriorated again. Clashes between the Government, armed groups and now tribes are increasing, with the number of victims and displaced persons also increasing. There has been no progress in the peace process. Reconstruction is at a standstill and the resources being transferred to the Darfur Regional Authority are too scant. Under those conditions, people do not benefit from improvements, which is the only way to ensure their adherence to the peace plan. The reason is simple: the Darfur problem cannot be isolated. It is an integral part of national reform, which is the only way to provide lasting solutions to the people and encourage rebel groups to participate in genuine negotiations. We must support the African Union in that regard. In conclusion, I would like to say once again how much we appreciate the involvement of the Secretary-General and the Office of Legal Affairs for the sake of international criminal justice and the International Criminal Court. In particular, the directives of the Secretary-General on limiting contact with defendants are an essential tool. Those guidelines should be applied consistently. The image of the Organization and the effectiveness of international justice depend upon it.
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