Thank you, Mr. President. We are pleased to welcome Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to the Council. We would like to thank her for today’s briefing, as she noted, the eighteenth report by an ICC Prosecutor on the situation in Darfur since Resolution 1593 was adopted in 2005.
Madam Prosecutor, the United States reiterates its appreciation to you and your office for your work to advance the cause of justice for the people of Darfur. Your perseverance with these long-standing cases is highly commendable, particularly given the obstacles the ICC faces as a result of the Government of Sudan’s continued non-cooperation.
Mr. President, justice will be the cornerstone of a stable and sustainable peace agreement in Darfur. The United States remains deeply concerned that the lack of progress on accountability for atrocities committed in Darfur continues to contribute to instability throughout Sudan. Lasting impunity goes hand in hand with continued violence and insecurity.
The Prosecutor’s report is replete with stark reminders of the challenges her office faces in seeking to address the atrocities suffered by the victims in Darfur. It once again details the blatant disregard of the Government of Sudan for its obligation to cooperate with the ICC pursuant to Resolution 1593.
The most concerning element of the Prosecutor’s briefing today is that the individuals subject to the ICC’s arrest warrants in Darfur continue to remain at large. The Government of Sudan has the responsibility to implement these warrants, yet it has consistently failed to do so while also offering no meaningful measure of justice at the national level. The Government of Sudan must fully cooperate with the ICC and its Prosecutor, and we continue to call for it to do so.
In a direct affront to the charges leveled against them, the individuals subject to outstanding arrest warrants also continue to cross international borders. The international community should remain united against these acts of defiance against justice by preventing such travel. States and regional bodies should ensure that these individuals are not invited to their countries and should not facilitate or support travel by those subject to the arrest warrants.
We welcome the Prosectuor’s continued pursuit of justice through her continued work on the case against Abdallah Banda, and we look forward to the start of that trial and the defendant’s continued cooperation. Yet there are other very troubling elements of the Prosecutor’s report.
Of particular concern are allegations of sexual and gender based violence in Darfur. Such crimes shock the conscience, and the lack of accountability fuels the cycle of violence, resentment, reprisal attacks, and further conflict.
We also continue to be deeply concerned by attacks on UN peacekeepers. While the Government of Sudan claims to be investigating these deplorable incidents, there have been no results and no evidence that these killings have been seriously addressed. Local accountability initiatives, particularly the Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur, also remain wanting. We urge observers from the African Union and the United Nations to monitor the Court’s proceedings – or lack thereof – and report publicly their observations.
In conclusion, Mr. President, accountability for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur is both a moral imperative and an issue of peace and security. The United States places a high priority on promoting justice and lasting peace for all of the people of Sudan. We once again commend Prosecutor Bensouda for her work to investigate and prosecute those most responsible for atrocities committed in Darfur.
I thank you.
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