Statement by Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor of the UK Mission to the UN at the Security Council Briefing on Darfur and the ICC
Thank you Madam President,
And I would like to thank Prosecutor Bensouda for her report and for her briefing today.
The situation in Darfur remains a serious concern, with an increase in violence and insecurity over the reporting period. The number of people affected by this conflict continues to grow, with two million now displaced in the long term and more than twice that number in need of humanitarian assistance.
This, combined with reported attacks on humanitarian workers and peacekeepers, re-enforces the need for all sides to reach a political solution and allow immediate unfettered humanitarian access.
It also, as this Council has discussed today in the context of the UNAMID mandate renewal, emphasises the need for a strong international response.
The Prosecutor’s report highlights many of the issues. The United Kingdom is especially troubled at the increase in the level of violent deaths of civilians and “significant” increase in reported aerial bombardments. As the report also highlights, the legal immunity of the Government of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces is a particular concern.
The report also picks up on ongoing sexual and gender based violence. It is particularly disappointing that despite ongoing calls to allow UNAMID unfettered access to investigate the reported mass rapes at Tabit this has still not happened.
The UK continues to call on all parties to refrain from violence against civilians and to end abuses and violations of both human rights and international humanitarian law. We welcome the recommendations from the UN Special Rapporter for Violence against Women and the UN Independent Expert for the Human Rights situation in Sudan that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses should be brought to account.
Against this backdrop, we regret that the Prosecutor is unable to carry out a full investigation due to lack of cooperation by the Government of Sudan, and that the 10th anniversary of Darfur being referred to the Prosecutor of the ICC has passed and no arrests have been made.
This reflects that fact that the Government of Sudan has persistently failed to meet its obligations under UN Security Council resolution 1593. In doing so it obstructs the pursuit of justice for the victims of crimes carried out in Darfur. We renew our call on the Government of Sudan to cooperate fully with the ICC.
The United Kingdom is also disappointed that President Bashir continues to travel with impunity. With specific regard to his travel to the African Union Summit in June, as the ICC’s decision makes clear, and as noted in the report of the Prosecutor, there is no ambiguity or uncertainty with respect to the obligation of States Parties to the Rome Statute to arrest and surrender him to the Court. We were also disappointed that Abdel Raheem Hussein and Ahmad Harun have accompanied President Bashir on trips overseas during the reporting period. And we note the 26th of June decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber finding non-compliance by the Republic of Sudan through failure to arrest Abdel Raheem Hussein.
The United Kingdom strongly supports the ICC as a Court working to deliver justice to victims - many of them African - of appalling crimes by holding perpetrators to account and putting an end to impunity.
African States played a central role in the creation of the Court; African support and expertise continues to be vital to enable the Court to deliver its mandate of delivering justice for victims and tackling impunity.
We call on all ICC State Parties to meet their obligations under the Rome Statute and on the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under Resolution 1593. And we call upon this Council to take effective follow-up action in relation to non-cooperation with the Court. Having referred the situation in Darfur to the Court, we must support it in fulfilling that mandate.
Thank you Madam President