Sudan: impunity prevails [fr]
Debate on the report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on the situation in Darfur and the implementation of resolution 1593 - Statement by Mrs Sheraz Gasri,Legal Adviser of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 8 June 2017
I would like to thank the Prosecutor, Ms. Bensouda, for her report and for her briefing to the Council. We also renew our pledge of support for the Prosecutor, her teams and the International Criminal Court.
It has now been more than 12 years since the Security Council adopted resolution 1593 (2005). This decision had very clear objectives — to render justice to the victims of the most serious crimes, to prevent the recurrence of atrocities in Darfur, and to promote reconciliation and stability in the Sudan. Now, 12 years after the adoption of the resolution, we see once again that none of those objectives has been achieved and that impunity prevails. Only legal action will put an end to that situation. That is why France calls on all Member States, most notably the Sudan, to implement the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court and to honour their remaining obligations under resolution 1593.
Without decisive Council action against impunity, instability will continue to prevail in Darfur and civilians will continue to be its primary victims. Admittedly, the Secretary-General’s recent reports on the situation in Darfur have reported some encouraging developments on the ground, such as improving conditions in certain areas and unilateral declarations of cessation of hostilities. The access restrictions imposed by the Sudanese Government on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) have also eased. However, as the Prosecutor pointed out in both her report and her briefing, civilians can be protected only if those changes are sustained. To that end, it is essential that the Sudanese authorities allow UNAMID to implement its mandate in accordance with the decisions of the Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
Moreover, sources of violence and instability persist and intercommunal violence remains one of the main sources of violence in Darfur. Due to the of the weak rule of law, banditry and crime continue. The resumption of fighting between Government forces and armed groups in May is indiscriminately affecting the population. Militias, including those incorporated into the Sudanese armed forces, such as the Rapid Support Forces, are carrying out intolerable attacks on civilians and sowing fear among the population. Their attacks force civilians to leave their villages and, too often, prevent them from returning home.
Let us not forget that today 2.7 million people of Darfur — almost one-third of the region’s population — are still displaced. Ensuring their return requires putting an end to all forms of violence and addressing the root causes of the conflict. Breaking the spiral of violence requires holding accountable those who have fueled it. On the one hand, we owe it to the victims, but on the other, it is essential for moving forward.
France and its partners reaffirm the importance of the obligation of all United Nations Member States to cooperate with the Court, in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the Council. That obligation falls primarily to the Sudan, as it must enforce the arrest warrants issued against its nationals for acts committed within its territory and cooperate with the Court, as required by resolution 1593.
States parties to the Rome Statute also have a special role to play in honouring their statutory obligations to cooperate with the ICC and to execute arrest warrants for individuals found within their territory. In that respect, we regret that this obligation has not yet been kept by some of those States in recent months, and we are grateful to the Prosecutor for following up on that major issue.
In its bilateral relations with those countries, with the Sudan and with its European partners, France will continue to stress the importance it attaches to the fight against impunity and its support for the ICC, and to call on them to honour their international commitment to cooperating with the Court. In that regard, the Council’s responsibility is clear. We must ensure effective cooperation with the Court and, as the Prosecutor notes, take action in cases of non-cooperation with the Court.
We are determined to examine the working methods of the Council on the basis of the proposals made by New Zealand last December. In that spirit, France proposes that the States that the Court has deemed to be in breach of their obligations to cooperate should be called upon to answer to the Security Council. On the basis of that meeting, it would then be up to the Council to decide on next steps. In any case, there must be a follow-up. All United Nations Member States and international organizations must be mobilized. In that respect, we stress the importance of limiting contact with persons with outstanding arrest warrants to essential communication only.