France is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the situation in Darfur - 29 June 2015 [fr]
Reports of the Secretary-General on the Sudan and South Sudan - Statement by Mr. Tanguy Stehelin, Political Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 29 June 2015
I too would like to thank the Prosecutor for presenting her twenty-first report.
On 31 March 2005, the Security Council adopted resolution 1593 (2005), which noted that the situation in the Sudan constituted a threat to international peace and security and referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the resolution, the Council took note of the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur (S/2005/60), which had established the serious and systematic nature of the crimes in Darfur.
In its 2005 debates, the Council recalled that the referral had been presented as a way to prevent new atrocities by fighting against impunity and ensuring stability in the Sudan, which was a precondition for its development. It is useful, first of all, to return to the origins of those debates, and in some way to the spirit that must guide the interpretation and implementation of the resolution. Indeed, the Council remains responsible for the resolutions it adopts and compliance with them by the parties concerned.
Ten years later, it is clear that the same chain of cause and effect identified in 2005 is still feeding the cycle of violence. As highlighted in the report of the Prosecutor, the situation in Darfur is not improving and has even deteriorated, the intensity of the violence having reached one of the most alarming levels recorded in this conflict. France is deeply concerned about the intensification of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and rebel groups in the Jebel Marra and Northern Darfur, in particular the aerial bombing campaign, which indiscriminately targets civilians.
Civilians continue to be the primary victims of a form of collective punishment, as evidenced by the approximately 121,000 people displaced in the Jebel Marra since January. Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular sexual violence, are continuing with complete impunity. In this context, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is prevented from to carrying out its mandate due to the attacks and restrictions on access to which it is subject.
At the same time, the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court have yet to be executed. Five individuals accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and, in one case, genocide continue to evade the Court’s jurisdiction. Most of them continue to occupy the highest offices in the Sudanese State apparatus. How is it not clear that this impunity encourages further and renewed abuses?
While 2015 could, in humanitarian terms, be even worse than 2014, in which 430,000 people were newly displaced, the solutions are well known to the Council. They include, first, the conclusion and implementation of a political solution involving the Government and rebel groups; secondly, effective protection of civilians and UNAMID’s exercise of its mandate; and thirdly, unimpeded humanitarian access to civilian populations and displaced persons.
Finally, identifying the persons responsible for crimes and an effective fight against impunity remain essential. We welcome the commitment of the Office of the Prosecutor during the period covered by the report. The Office obtained from the Pre-Trial Chamber two decisions of non-cooperation against the Sudan, in the Al-Bashir case on 9 March 2015, and in the Hussein case on 26 June 2015, bringing the total to 10. We recall the importance of States’ duty to cooperate, without which the prosecution of the most serious crimes by the ICC will remain dead letter. As recalled by the Prosecutor, the primary responsibility lies with the Sudan as the State with the territorial jurisdiction to execute the arrest warrants and cooperate with the Court as required by resolution 1593 (2005). However, the Sudan not only refuses to cooperate at all with the Court, but also takes no action to allowing victims access to independent and impartial justice.
Under these circumstances, in order to ensure compliance with resolution 1593 (2005) and consistency with the conditions of its adoption in 2005, the arrest warrants be carried out. The Council must respond to cases of non-cooperation with the Court, and the Assembly of States Parties must remain mobilized. In this regard, France welcomes the efforts by its President, Mr. Sidiki Kaba. At the same time, contacts with the persons subject to arrest warrants by the Court must be limited to those deemed essential, in line with the Secretary-General’s policy. France calls on the United Nations as a whole to continue to implement that guidance.
Civilian populations were at the core of the Security Council’s approach in 2005 when resolution 1593 (2005) was adopted. They must remain so today to bolster the Council in its struggle against impunity and its support for UNAMID. The Hybrid Mission, which brings together the United Nations and African Union, is making every effort to fulfil its mandate in conditions rendered particularly difficult by the obstacles it systematically encounters. Some of the interested parties would wish above all for the Mission to be purely and simply withdrawn, with no consideration for the actual situation on the ground. Any such approach would be counterproductive, since its only effect would be to make civilians even more vulnerable to the spiral of violence, which could further destabilize the Sudan and the region and usher in a dangerous cycle.
UNAMID must pursue clear objectives and develop long-term planning giving it a strategic view of its mission. Improving the situation of civilian populations must remain its lodestar; it must also continue to support the search for a political solution, the only kind that will work in the long term. The Council has just renewed the mandate of UNAMID, which all of us must now unequivocally support in the accomplishment of its mission. We owe that to the people of Darfur.
It is not without a sense of failure that we are obliged to make these observations some 10 years after the adoption of resolution 1593 (2005). Let that date, however, remind us of the continuing relevance of the Security Council’s intentions and vision in 2005. Now more than ever, it behoves us to put into practical effect our decision and cooperation with the Court, to which that resolution has fundamentally and indissolubly linked us in the essential common objective of fighting impunity.