Statement at UNSC Briefing on Sudan & the International Criminal Court
Statement17 January 2022
Thank you Madam President, and thank you Prosecutor Khan for your briefing and report. I also welcome the representative of Sudan.
Since we last heard from your predecessor on the situation in Sudan, the democratic transition has received a significant setback following the military coup of 25 October. It is regrettable that this has interrupted the significant progress made up to that point in the Prosecutor’s investigations.
We remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in Darfur and have noted reports from UNITAMS, UNOCHA and UNHCR of attacks against civilians in West and North Darfur. Reports of civilian deaths, the rape of women and girls, forced displacement of thousands and the destruction of property are deeply worrying and include acts which may come within the jurisdiction of the Court.
Madam President, we deplore reports since the coup of alleged serious violations of IHL and the use of sexual violence and attacks on medical personnel and facilities as tools to intimidate and punish women and men for exercising their civil and political rights. We call on the Sudanese authorities to protect civilians, bring this violence to an end and ensure accountability for such incidents.
We welcome the new consultative initiative intended to address the constitutional crisis and hope it will lead to a roadmap for a reset of the democratic transition. It is imperative we do not lose the hard won gains since 2019, including as they relate to accountability and justice.
Madam President, we urge a return to the progress we saw in the Court’s work prior to the events of October. This progress was exemplified by Prosecutor Khan’s visit to Khartoum, the conclusion of a further Memorandum of Understanding with the civilian-led transitional government and plans to deploy an investigative team based full-time in Sudan.
The allocation of additional resources to the Office’s Darfur team is also positive, including increasing the number of team members and the focus on ensuring the team has the adequate skills.
We welcome the significant progress in Mr Abd-Al-Rahman’s prosecution, the first confirmation of charges in a Security Council referral. His trial commences 17 years after the adoption of Resolution 1593, demonstrating the importance of the Council and the Court’s continued focus on accountability in Sudan.
However, we note that four ICC arrest warrants remain outstanding. We urge Mr Banda to surrender to the Court and reiterate our call on the Sudanese authorities to cooperate fully with the ICC and surrender the three additional fugitives in Sudanese custody, in line with their obligations.
Cooperation remains key to the Court’s continued work in Sudan. In this regard, we note there is ongoing engagement by the Sudanese authorities. However, we also support the Prosecutor’s request for access to evidence and witnesses in Sudan as well as full and safe access to the Sudanese territory.
We urge Sudan to nominate focal points to facilitate continued work with the Court and to ensure the safety of witnesses and their ability to testify.
As the Prosecutor has pointed out in his report, the violence we are witnessing in Darfur today reminds us why we need to break the cycle of impunity.
It is for this reason Ireland remains a strong advocate for the work of the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office in Sudan. As the Juba Peace Agreement acknowledged, justice and accountability are crucial for building peace in Sudan.
- You can count on our continued support for your work and that of your Office.
- Thank you Madam President.