Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the ICC - Sudan
Statement23 August 2022
Thank you Mr President, and thank you Prosecutor Khan for your briefing and report. I also welcome the Permanent Representative of Sudan to today’s meeting.
We are gravely concerned that the security situation in Darfur deteriorated even further over the reporting period, where we have seen large-scale violence in the west of the region, resulting in the deaths of approximately 200 people in April.
Ireland calls on the Sudanese authorities to investigate these incidents fully and ensure there is accountability for those responsible. As the Prosecutor said, this is what the people of Sudan demand and what they expect.
Reports of civilian deaths, sexual and gender based violence, including the rape of women and girls, forced displacement, and the destruction of property are deeply worrying, and include acts that may come within the jurisdiction of the Court.
Impunity sows the seeds of further violence. Ensuring accountability for the people of Darfur is therefore essential if we are to ever stop this cycle of violence.
Whilst the reasons for the deteriorating security situation are complex, we know that it is linked to the breakdown in constitutional order at the national level.
Ireland echoes the Secretary General’s call for a return to transition towards a civilian-led democratic government, through an inclusive, Sudanese-owned political dialogue. In that regard, we fully support the efforts of UNITAMS, the AU and IGAD in supporting this process.
Twenty years ago last month, international criminal justice changed for the better, with the entry into force of the Rome Statute.
To mark this important milestone, Ireland, together with 11 co-sponsors, hosted an Arria-formula meeting on strengthening the relationship between the Court and this Council.
Whilst there is considerable scope for improving this relationship, as the Prosecutor mentioned, the referral of the situation in Darfur demonstrates what the Council can achieve in the realm of accountability, through cooperation with the ICC.
That action has now led to the opening of the first prosecution at the ICC arising from a Security Council referral, against former Janjaweed commander Ali Kushayb for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Ireland is appreciative of the open approach to reporting adopted by the Prosecutor in his latest report, and the development of benchmarks for this investigation.
We also welcome the Prosecutor’s ongoing visit to Sudan, particularly to Darfur, and the support provided by the Sudanese authorities in facilitating this trip.
However, further progress in the investigation is now dependent on Sudan’s cooperation with the Court, which, unfortunately, has taken a backward step since the unfortunate events of October 2021.
Prior to the military coup, there were a number of notable positive developments, including the conclusion of a further M.O.U. with the civilian-led transitional government.
Ireland urges Sudan to return to the path of progress and supports the Prosecutor’s request for unimpeded access to evidence, to Sudanese territory, and to all material witnesses.
We also call on the Sudanese authorities to facilitate the establishment of a field presence in Khartoum, and to ensure prompt responses to all requests for assistance submitted by the Prosecutor. Furthermore, we repeat our call on Sudan to nominate focal points within relevant ministries and to ensure the safety of witnesses and their ability to testify.
Finally, we note that four ICC arrest warrants remain outstanding. Once again, we urge Mr Banda to surrender to the Court, and reiterate our call on Sudan to surrender the three additional fugitives in Sudanese custody, in line with their obligations.
The collective goal here is to ensure a durable and sustainable peace in Sudan. However, that goal is simply not possible without justice for the victims and survivors of atrocity crimes in Darfur.
We hope that your visit, Mr Prosecutor, will build the necessary momentum towards that end, and quench the thirst for justice in Sudan that you mentioned earlier on.