Statement delivered by UK Representative on ICC Darfur to UN Security Council
Thank you, Mr President.
I thank Ms Bensouda for her report and for the briefing today. Sadly, we have not seen an improvement in the situation in Darfur since she last addressed the Council in June.
The situation in Darfur remains a serious concern. Over the last six months we have continued to see heavy inter-communal fighting, sporadic clashes between Government and rebel forces and we have received reports of continued aerial strikes by the Government of Sudan. It has been reported that over 460,000 individuals have been newly displaced between January and November this year.
Humanitarian aid workers and peacekeepers continue to be attacked throughout Darfur. In particular we take this opportunity today to condemn the attack on UNAMID on 24 November which resulted in the death of one Rwandan peacekeeper bringing the total killed in the last year to 13. Many others were injured in that attack and we wish them a speedy and full recovery. Such attacks against UNAMID are unacceptable. We hope that the ongoing review of the mission will address the challenges facing UNAMID. And we call on all parties to ensure the mission is granted full and unfettered access across Darfur.
We thank the Prosecutor for her updates on the trial of Abdallah Banda, and on the termination of proceedings against Saleh Jerbo following reports of his death.
It remains deeply concerning, however, that the Government of Sudan continues to frustrate the pursuit of justice for the people of Darfur by shielding all of the others currently indicted by the ICC. The Government of Sudan has a clear and indisputable obligation to cooperate with the ICC, pursuant to Security Council resolution 1593. It has consistently and repeatedly failed to do so. We call once again on the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations and to cooperate with the ICC, including with respect to enforcement of the five separate arrest warrants issued by the Court.
Once again, in this reporting period we have seen some ICC States Parties regrettably fail to comply with their obligations under the Rome Statute by not implementing the arrest warrants when visited by someone indicted by the Court. The United Kingdom urges all ICC States Parties to meet their obligations under the Rome Statute with respect to the travel of fugitives from the Court.
The references in the report to crimes of sexual violence in Darfur are disturbing. We are grateful to the Office of the Prosecutor for its ongoing work in this regard. The United Kingdom believes that there is more that can – and must – be done to combat sexual violence and address the culture of impunity that has been allowed to develop for these crimes. This culture must be replaced with a culture of accountability. We encourage all states to cooperate with the Court to ensure that the alleged perpetrators of these and other serious crimes of concern against the people of Darfur are held accountable for their actions.
In a Presidential Statement in February this year, the Council reiterated its previous call on the importance of State cooperation with Courts and Tribunals and expressed its commitment to an effective follow up of Council decisions in that regard. It is now high time that the Council did so by looking urgently at what it can do to assist the Court so it can complete the task we gave it when we referred the situation in Darfur to the Court over 8 years ago.
Thank you, Mr President.