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Statement by the UK Legal Advisor to the UK Mission to the UN to the Security Council Briefing on Sudan
I would like to thank Prosecutor Bensouda for her report and for her briefing today.
The United Kingdom very much regrets that the situation in Darfur has not improved since the Prosecutor last addressed the Council in June. As her report highlights, the ongoing aerial bombardments, ground attacks ,sexual and gender-based crimes against civilians, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of opposition and civil society figures present a deeply worrying picture. It has been reported that over 430,000 individuals have been newly displaced between January and November this year.
We welcome the efforts of former President Mbeki but are very concerned that the latest round of talks between the Government of Sudan and representatives of the armed opposition groups from Darfur, were unable to reach a breakthrough. We urge all parties to resume talks at the earliest opportunity.
The United Kingdom condemns the attacks that tragically resulted in the deaths of four UNAMID personnel over the reporting period, and joins with the Prosecutor in calling on the Government of Sudan to take the necessary steps to maintain security for UNAMID personnel.
UNAMID remains a key partner in monitoring the human rights situation in Darfur. In that context, it is important that UNAMID investigates and reports fully on any incidents. We welcome the establishment of the Cooper Review to examine allegations of past under-reporting, and believe it is vital that its findings are shared transparently, including through wider publication. As we have said in this Council, it is vital that UNAMID ensures that all future information is shared with its stakeholders.
We also reiterate the call to allow UNAMID unfettered access to fully investigate allegations of mass rape in Tabit. These are serious allegations and I note with concern the Office of the Prosecutor’s view that an “atmosphere of intimidation” has arisen around the situation. It is vital that the full facts around this incident are established.
The Prosecutor has also highlighted the immunity enjoyed by the Rapid Support Forces as part of the National Intelligence and Security Service. This has also been highlighted by the previous UN Independent Expert on the Human Rights situation in Sudan, who recommended the need to repeal or amend the 2010 National Security Act to ensure that the powers of NISS are in conformity with Sudan’s international human rights obligations.
We note that 31 March 2015 will mark ten years since the situation in Darfur was referred to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Security Council Resolution 1593 placed the Government of Sudan under an obligation to cooperate fully with, and provide any necessary assistance, to the ICC and its Prosecutor. Over the last decade the Government of Sudan has comprehensively and conspicuously failed to meet this obligation. By protecting those individuals indicted by the ICC it continues to obstruct the pursuit of justice for the victims of crimes carried out in Darfur. The United Kingdom repeats its call on the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations by fully cooperating with the ICC, particularly with respect to enforcement of all arrest warrants issued by the Court.
The United Kingdom also urges all States to cooperate fully with the Court and the Prosecutor, in particular with respect to the travel of ICC-indictees, and recalls the obligations of ICC States Parties to implement ICC arrest warrants.
Where States fail to comply with their obligations it is important that the Security Council responds. The United Kingdom regrets the fact that the Council has so far been unable to agree responses to letters from the President of the Court relating to the obligation to cooperate with the Court. We call once again for all Council members to agree timely and effective follow-up action to reports of non-cooperation with the Court – and that action should start with responses to the letters the Council has received. It is the responsibility of this Council to assist the Court to fulfil the mandate we gave it when we referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC Prosecutor almost ten years ago.
Thank you Mr President.