Thank you, Mr. President. Let me start by thanking the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, for his informative briefing today on the situation in Darfur, as well as for his contributions over the past nine years to the cause of ending impunity for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
The United States is gravely concerned about the situation in Sudan, and the role that continuing impunity for crimes committed in Darfur has played in forestalling a just and enduring peace for the people of Sudan and the region.
This is the Prosecutor’s fifteenth and final report to the Security Council on the situation in Darfur, which this Council referred to the ICC in 2005. He has come before us many times to describe the work of his office in seeking to address the atrocities suffered by the victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Indeed, since the adoption of Resolution 1593 and the initiation of these periodic reports, copious evidence has been collected and arrest warrants sought and granted. The most recent development has been the arrest warrant for Minister of Defense Abdel Raheem Hussein. Most importantly, promises have been made to the victims: that the crimes they suffered will not go unpunished, and the justice they seek will not go undelivered.
But as of today, justice has not been served. The ICC’s prosecution of the key architects of the atrocities in Darfur is critical. But, as the Prosecutor has stressed, the individuals subject to the ICC’s arrest warrants in Darfur continue to remain at large. We have consistently called on the government of Sudan and all parties to the conflict to cooperate fully with the ICC and its prosecutor, yet there is persistent failure to meet obligations under Resolution 1593. Local accountability initiatives, particularly those agreed to in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, remain largely unfulfilled. And the violence continues in Darfur and in other areas of Sudan where these patterns repeat themselves and similarly go unaddressed.
Today’s report offers us an opportunity to reflect on what steps we can take to strengthen international efforts to hold accountable those who have committed atrocities in Darfur. We agree with the Prosecutor that the lack of progress to date in executing the arrest warrants and bringing those most responsible to justice merits renewed attention by this Council.
We think it is a serious cause for concern that the individuals subject to outstanding arrest warrants in the Darfur situation remain at large and continue to travel across borders. This is an area where cooperation is particularly crucial.
To this end, we continue to urge all states to refrain from providing political or financial support to the Sudanese suspects subject to ICC arrest warrants and to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on States that invite or host these individuals. We stand with the many states who refuse to welcome the ICC indictees to their countries, and we commend those who have spoken out against President Bashir’s continued travel, including to next month’s AU summit. For our part, the United States has continued to oppose invitations, facilitation or support for travel by those subject to ICC arrest warrants in Darfur and to urge other states to do the same. We would welcome additional efforts by and better coordination with other members of the international community on these issues.
We encourage the Council to consider creative approaches and new tools. As members of the Security Council, we can and should review additional steps that can be undertaken to effectuate the ICC’s work in Darfur, execute outstanding arrest warrants, and ensure compliance by states with relevant international obligations.
Continued impunity and the lack of accountability for heinous crimes fuel resentment, reprisal, and conflict in Darfur. We are deeply troubled by the increased violence in three out of the five Darfur states since the Prosecutor’s last briefing in December 2011. Once again, we note that the Sudanese government continues its use of aerial bombardments, including of civilian areas in violation of resolutions issued by this Council. And we are deeply concerned about sexual and gender-based violence crimes there.
We are also deeply troubled that impunity continues for those who attack UNAMID peacekeepers. Since the Prosecutor’s last report in December, UNAMID has been attacked four times and three peacekeepers have been killed in these attacks. We redouble our calls on the Government of Sudan to investigate these attacks and bring to justice those responsible. We note the progress made in the ongoing two cases against Darfur rebels, as described in the Prosecutor’s report.
Mr. President, we are extremely concerned about the recurring violence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. Unfortunately, we have seen in the Two Areas a concrete illustration that those who evade accountability all too often contribute to further cycles of violence. As the Prosecutor has reminded us, Ahmad Haroun is the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for alleged crimes committed in Darfur. Yet rather than facing justice, he has been entrusted by the Government of Sudan to serve as governor of Southern Kordofan, where he engages in inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of that which he deployed in Darfur, pursuing policies that in recent weeks has led to the displacement of nearly 700 people per day, while continuing to block humanitarian access to those remaining. We will continue to push for a credible, independent investigation into violations of international law there and to demand that those responsible are held to account.
We continue to urge the Government of Sudan to make good on its commitments in the July 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur to make local justice and accountability mechanisms a reality, including by empowering its Special Prosecutor for crimes in Darfur, establishing the Special Courts for Darfur, and inviting observers from the African Union and the United Nations to monitor the proceedings of these Courts.
In conclusion, we would like to reiterate our thanks to Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo and his office for the work they have done to advance the cause of justice for the people of Darfur. We call on the members of the Security Council and the international community to take concrete steps to ensure that justice in Sudan is indeed served and that the cycle of violence and impunity there comes at last to a close.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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