"The UK shares the ICC Prosecutor’s concern regarding the situation in Darfur."

Statement by Helen Mulvein, Legal Counsellor at the UK Mission to the UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan

read article

Thank you Madam President,

The United Kingdom thanks the Prosecutor for her 22nd report to the Security Council, and for her briefing today.

The UK shares the Prosecutor’s concern regarding the situation in Darfur and calls on all sides to reach a political solution. In June, in resolution 2228, the Council was deeply concerned at the continuing deterioration of the security situation. But as the Prosecutor’s report notes, there are continued reports of aerial bombardments, inter-tribal clashes, widespread allegations of serious sexual violence against women and gender-based crimes, forced displacement and militant settlers. We are particularly concerned by reports of attacks on civilians by the Rapid Support Forces.

Civilians are bearing the brunt, and we call on all parties to refrain from violence against civilians and to end abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The UK is also concerned by reports of abductions and attacks on humanitarian and aid workers and peacekeepers – such attacks must cease and the perpetrators be held to account. It is also essential to ensure unfettered humanitarian access.

Madam President,

The UK regrets that the four persons subject to arrest warrants not only remain at large in Sudan but also continue to occupy high-ranking positions in the Government of Sudan. The UK calls on the Government of Sudan, which bears primary responsibility for implementing the warrants, to arrest and surrender these individuals to the Court in accordance with its obligations under resolution 1593 of 2005.

The UK is also disappointed that President Bashir continues to travel regularly across international borders, to States both in Africa and beyond. We call on all states, whether or not they are ICC states parties, to cooperate fully with the Court in respect of President Bashir and all Sudanese persons against whom arrest warrants are in force. States Parties, of course, have a legal obligation to cooperate under the Rome Statute. In that respect, we note the ongoing judicial proceedings in South Africa and the Court regarding the events surrounding President Bashir’s attendance at the African Union Summit in June this year and the Pre-Trial Chamber’s request for South Africa to submit its views for the purpose of the ICC proceedings. But it is important that all States support implementation of this Council’s resolution 1593.

The UK regrets the lack of response from Sudan on execution of the arrest warrant against Mr Banda, and we notes the subsequent non-compliance decision dated 19 November 2015 which will be transmitted to the Council. The fact that this is the eleventh finding on non-cooperation communicated to the Council and the fourth in respect of Sudan is extremely concerning. We urge the Council to take effective follow-up action in relation to non-cooperation, to ensure the Court is able to fulfil the mandate we have given it through referring the situation in Darfur.

Madam President,

The UK welcomes the Prosecutor’s affirmation that despite these difficulties her Office has not abandoned its investigations and continues to expend all efforts to obtain the necessary assistance from States to execute the outstanding warrants and to investigate alleged crimes committed in Darfur. We welcome the various investigative steps taken by the lawyers and investigators assigned to the Darfur cases and the monitoring of allegations of ongoing crimes in Darfur.

Whilst recognising the Court’s resource constraints, which in part reflect the resource constraints of states parties, the UK urges the Court to continue its work on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of judicial proceedings in order to make the most of the resources available. We fully support the efforts of the Prosecutor and her Office to ensure that perpetrators of these terrible crimes are held to account, and to end the climate of impunity.

Thank you, Madam President.

Published 16 December 2015