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UK Statement to the UN Security Council meeting on the ICC Report on Darfur
We thank Madame Bensouda for her report and her briefing today. In December last year we expressed our concern at the lack of progress since she last addressed the Council. It is extremely depressing that we must do so once again now.
First and foremost, that lack of progress is evidenced in the continued non-cooperation of the Government of Sudan with the ICC, and by its non-implementation of its obligations under resolution 1593, and subsequent resolutions on the situation in Darfur. This is of serious concern, and we call once again on the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations in this regard in full.
The Prosecutor’s report refers to the “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Darfur, and the continuing perpetration of serious crimes against civilians. We are deeply concerned by the increased violence this year, including a resurgence of activities by rebel groups and the activities of the Government’s Rapid Support Forces, as well as the continuing inter-communal violence.
Civilians continue to pay the highest price, with hundreds of thousands of people newly displaced this year. The reports of sexual and gender-based violence are deeply disturbing, both in terms of the high number and of the particular brutality of the violence. We are also concerned by alleged crimes against human rights defenders, civil society members and community leaders, as well as humanitarian workers and United Nations peacekeepers.
The authorities’ suspension of the activities of several humanitarian organisations will have an impact on civilians in dire need of assistance. We hope that the situation can be improved as quickly as possible.
We are deeply concerned by the active role that the Government’s Rapid Support Forces are alleged to have played in the increased violence, including the looting and burning of villages. In addition, allegations of aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Armed Forces in rebel-held areas, harming civilian life and infrastructure, are extremely troubling. We also note with concern that the rebel forces have allegedly been involved in attacks on civilians.
All parties must stop such actions immediately, take steps to ensure the protection of civilians in Darfur, and grant unfettered and timely access to UNAMID and humanitarian workers. We welcome the ICC’s continued monitoring of actions that could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute, and reiterate our firm wish to work with partners to ensure that the perpetrators of such crimes face justice.
The ICC States Parties must play their part too by fully implementing their obligations under the Rome Statute. We urge States to implement essential contact policies, in support of the Court and the Office of the Prosecutor. We note with concern that the Prosecutor’s report raises questions over the implementation of the United Nations’ policy on non-essential contact and urge the Secretariat to ensure full compliance with it.
We are also concerned by the allegations referred to in the Prosecutor’s report, regarding UNAMID’s handling of information about crimes committed against civilians and peacekeepers. It is of pivotal importance that the Mission keep the Council fully informed, and in detail, about developments on the ground. Only with this can the Council do its work most effectively. We encourage the Secretariat to look carefully into the allegations made.
We welcomed the strategic review of UNAMID in February this year, and look forward to its full implementation. We urge the Mission, the Secretariat, and UNAMID’s Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries to continue to work together towards this goal.
Finally, we must do more to follow up on the referral to the ICC. It is a poor reflection on the Council that we have not been able to respond in substance to the many letters received from the Court notifying us of instances of non-cooperation.
Thank you, Mr President.