Darfur: To fight against impunity [fr]
Statement by Mrs Sheraz Gasri, Legal Adviser of the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations Retour ligne automatique
Security Council - 14 December 2018
I would like to thank the Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, for her twenty-eighth report and for her briefing, as well as for the progress made regarding the situation in Darfur.
On behalf of France, I would like to thank the Prosecutor and her teams for the indispensable work they are carrying out on behalf of the victims awaiting recognition and reparations; for the witnesses who truly believe in international justice; and for the Security Council, which referred the situation of Darfur to the International Criminal Court by resolution 1593 (2005) 13 years ago. We are starkly aware of the difficulty of this task.
The responsibility of the Council is the same as it was 13 years ago. It must take resolute action to fight against impunity in the Sudan and to put an end to the grave crimes committed in Darfur. This is critical to the achievement of any long-term stabilization in Darfur and in the Sudan. The International Criminal Court is essential in that regard.
As others have already said, the overall improvement in the security situation creates opportunities for stabilization, which is encouraging. However, there are still many challenges to address, particularly regarding the protection of civilians. That is particularly the case in Jebel Marra, where clashes continue with consequences in the form of attacks on civilians, displaced populations and human rights violations. We are worried about sexual and gender-based violence, which victimizes women and girls in particular and does so with complete impunity. We are also concerned about the plight of the displaced populations. Lasting solutions must be found for the 2 million displaced people in Darfur.
It is imperative that the Sudanese authorities and armed groups make progress in the peace process. Beyond the cessation of hostilities, it is important to address the root causes of the conflict, including the issues of landownership, access to natural resources and, of course, the restoration of the rule of law. The ability to effectively combat impunity and strengthen legal institutions and respect for human rights are inextricably linked to this.
In all these areas, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) must play its full role. It is particularly essential to ensure that it has access to the areas where civilians are most vulnerable. Humanitarian access, which must be guaranteed, is essential in Jebel Marra and elsewhere. It will also be important to strengthen the country team by ensuring that it is adequately equipped, funded and deployed with a view to UNAMID’s eventual withdrawal. As of now, both UNAMID and the United Nations country team must be able to monitor the situation of human rights, internally displaced persons and sexual violence closely, including in remote areas.
France would like to once again remind the Council of States’ obligation to cooperate with the Court, in accordance with the Council’s resolutions. That obligation is primarily incumbent on the Sudan, which must cooperate with the Court in executing arrest warrants against its nationals for acts committed on its territory, as required by resolution 1593 (2005). We must respond to the Court’s legitimate requests so that it is able to fully carry out its mandate. France will not let refusals to cooperate be taken lightly, especially when they come from States parties to the Rome Statute. In that respect, we were pleased that in her most recent report the Prosecutor referred to the discussions in our Arria Formula meeting of 6 July, as well as to France’s proposal that States that the Court has found to be in breach of their obligation to cooperate with the Court be asked to explain themselves to the Council. We reiterate our proposal.