"It is a tragedy that crimes such as these continue in Darfur."
Statement by Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor, on the ICC Prosecutor on her 24th Report on Darfur
Thank you Mr President.
Let me begin by welcoming the Prosecutor back to the Council and by thanking her for her briefing today. The United Kingdom is grateful for the Prosecutor’s 24th report and we thank her and her Office for their continued investigation into the situation in Darfur.
The United Kingdom supports the ICC in its vital work of challenging impunity and ensuring accountability for those who bear the greatest responsibility for the most serious crimes of international concern.
It is a tragedy that crimes such as these continue in Darfur. The Prosecutor’s report notes that current crimes have decreased, but we have still seen worrying reports of serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law, notably in Jebel Marra. We remain particularly concerned by reports of attacks on civilians by the Rapid Support Forces and other militias. We call on all parties to end violence against civilians and violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.
The UK welcomes the signing of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel Roadmap Agreement by both the Government of Sudan and the Opposition Parties but remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in Darfur where 2.6 million people remain displaced with no solution to the root causes of displacement. This year saw a spike in displacement following conflict in Jebel Marra which strained the capacity of humanitarian actors to meet the needs of suffering Darfuri civilians, particularly in the face of obstacles to access.
Civilians continue to be the main victims of the ongoing instability, and the UK urges the Government of Sudan to allow access throughout Darfur, including all parts of Jebel Marra. This will enable the Prosecutor to carry out her investigation and UNAMID to carry out its mandate to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian assistance. There is an urgent need to address the gaps in rule of law and accountability which breed violence and instability as witnessed in inter-communal clashes and widespread allegations of gender-based crimes and serious sexual violence against women.
We call on the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under UN Security Council resolution 1593, to cooperate fully with the ICC, to execute outstanding arrest warrants and to fulfil its international obligations.
The United Kingdom is frustrated that fugitives of the Court, including President Bashir and Mr Hussein, have been able to travel unhindered to a number of States Parties who are obliged to arrest and surrender them. Together with our international partners we will continue to raise our concerns with the relevant Governments and make clear that we expect compliance with the arrest warrants for all those indicted by the Court.
Non-cooperation with the Court in this way weakens the rules-based international system. We agree with the Prosecutor that this Council should play a more active role on compliance and we support effective measures to ensure that instances of non-cooperation with the Court are taken seriously.
The UK believes that achieving justice for victims should be at the heart of the international community’s response to mass atrocity violence; it is essential that fugitives from international justice do not enjoy impunity. We call on all States Parties to cooperate with the ICC and abide by their Rome Statute obligations.
We commend the Office of the Prosecutor’s ongoing investigations and welcome the fact that despite these challenges, real progress has been made and significant additional evidence has been gathered. We recognise that these investigations are complex and take place in very difficult circumstances.
Finally, in closing, the UK would like to take this opportunity to renew its commitment to supporting the Court, as both a State Party to the Rome Statute and as a member of the Security Council. We recognise the financial constraints faced by the Prosecutor’s Office and we respect her independence in deciding the best use of those resources.
Thank you Mr President.
Published: 13 December 2016