Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the ICC - Sudan
Statement09 June 2021
Thank you Mr President and I want to thank Prosecutor Bensouda also for her report and her briefing just now.
Sudan has continued to make significant headway in its political transition and reform efforts and I am pleased to see this matched by tangible steps by the transitional Government to work with the International Criminal Court in the fight against impunity.
A number of these steps are particularly noteworthy including that the Office of the Prosecutor and the Prosecutor herself have travelled to Sudan three times during the reporting period. In this regard, we also acknowledge the important support provided to the Court by UN entities and encourage its continuation. That investigators have been able to conduct investigative activities in the territory of Sudan, for the first time in over a decade is particularly important. The provision of requested materials to the Office by Sudan is another positive step towards justice.
We note Mr Abd-Al-Rahman’s surrender to the Court last June and the confirmation of charges hearing in his case in May. We welcome the memorandum on modalities and the agreement reached with Sudan to facilitate cooperation and enable the Court’s work on this case.
Our sincere hope is that the positive engagement of the last six months marks the beginning of a strong relationship between the Court and the transitional Government. We look forward to continued cooperation and to the development of further arrangements dealing with the Court’s broader investigations.
We acknowledge the importance of complementarity and encourage further dialogue between the Court and the Sudanese Government. At the same time, we recall Sudan’s ongoing obligation under Resolution 1593 to execute the four outstanding arrest warrants and surrender the remaining suspects. In relation to Mr Banda, we urge him to surrender himself to the Court.
As regards Mr Haroun specifically, given the interest of victims and witnesses in hearing Mr Haroun and Mr al-Rahman’s cases together and Mr Haroun’s own request to be transferred to the Hague to stand trial, we urge the Sudanese authorities to lose no further time in carrying out his surrender.
While the positive developments of the last six months are very welcome, we must also acknowledge that Sudan’s transition remains fragile and these steps towards accountability are taking place against a background of ongoing violence in Darfur and mass displacement. We remain deeply concerned by the killing of civilians and reports of incidences of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in Darfur. The pattern of violence and perpetration indicates that the power and impunity dynamics, which underlay the war in Darfur and the current situation investigation, have not yet been effectively addressed.
Though we are alive to the wider pressures faced by Sudan, including the ongoing economic crisis, justice and accountability need to remain a priority as the peace process moves forward.
In calling for an end to violence, we know that impunity for the most serious crimes and a perceived tolerance for serious human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law, only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence.
We therefore encourage the transitional Government to prioritise the establishment and implementation of transitional justice mechanisms and processes agreed in the Juba Peace Agreement, as part of Sudan’s own broader democratic transition, including the full implementation of the National Plan for Protecting Civilians in Darfur, and the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Court for Darfur.
As I conclude, Madame Prosecutor, as this is your final time addressing the Council in this role, I could not conclude without taking a moment to pay a most sincere tribute to your work and to the legacy you leave behind. Your commitment to justice has been steadfast as you guided the Office of the Prosecutor from its first successful prosecution through numerous challenges in recent years.
- We have real respect for all you have achieved and for your personal and professional dedication over your term. We wish you well in in your future endeavours and can assure you that Ireland will continue to support the Court that you have worked diligently to strengthen, bringing us ever closer to the common goal of peace based on international justice.
- Thank you.