Fighting impunity in Darfur must remain a priority [fr]
Statement by Ms. Shéraz Gasri, Legal Adviser at the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 18 December 2019
I too want to thank Prosecutor Bensouda for her briefing and her report.As a key actor in the multilateral system and a permanent court of universal scope, the International Criminal Court requires the full cooperation of us all. More than ever, it must be able to successfully carry out its assigned tasks, namely, delivering independent and impartial justice where national jurisdictions are unable to do so, as well as ending impunity for the most serious crimes and, in doing so, contributing to stabilization and reconciliation efforts.
The Court continues to be responsible for carrying out those tasks in Darfur today, 14 years after the adoption by the Council of resolution 1593 (2005).France reiterates its support for the work that has been done by the Office of the Prosecutor and its teams — which we too commend — to bring justice to the victims of the crimes that were committed. France is convinced that that is a necessary condition for a successful Sudanese transition. The fight against impunity must indeed be made a priority in order to move towards a fair and democratic system. We welcome Prime Minister Hamdok’s commitments in that regard, and we call on the Sudanese authorities in particular to provide the relevant commission of inquiry into the events of 3 June with the necessary means to conduct its work independently.
The results of that investigation should enable us shed to light on the violent dispersion of the sit-in and identify those responsible, who must be held accountable before the courts for their actions.The situation in Darfur remains precarious. Fighting continued to claim dozens of civilian lives during the reporting period and displaced several thousand people, in particular women and children.
Women and girls continue to suffer sexual and gender-based violence, while serious crimes continue to be committed against children. In that regard, France too would like to reiterate the crucial role that the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur plays in protecting civilian populations and reporting human rights violations. Despite the precarious situation, however, France views the transition as an opportunity to begin a new chapter between the Sudanese authorities and the International Criminal Court that would enable the Sudan to finally comply with its obligations under resolution 1593 (2005). We call on the Sudan to allow the Prosecutor’s teams to travel to Darfur. That would serve as a strong signal that would also make it possible to establish the dialogue needed to form a relationship of trust.France welcomes the arrest and detention of three of the five Darfur suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court.
We also take note of the decision of a national court this past Saturday to sentence Mr. Al-Bashir to two years in detention for acts of corruption, as well as the case that was filed against those primarily responsible for the 1989 coup d’état. We call on the Sudanese authorities to prosecute the alleged crimes detailed in the corresponding arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court or to submit them to the Court, in accordance with the principle of complementarity. Such developments would very concretely demonstrate the Sudan’s commitment to taking a decisive step towards justice, peace and providing recognition to the victims of the crimes committed in Darfur. In parallel, we hope that the negotiations with the armed groups in Darfur and in two states in the Sudan, which have just resumed in Juba, will lead to an agreement that will enable lasting peace to be built. We encourage all the armed groups to join that negotiation process without delay. It was in that spirit that we facilitated a meeting between Prime Minister Hamdok and Abdul Wahid Al-Nur on 29 September in Paris.