Sudan (Darfur) - International Criminal Court
- Natural Resources
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Statement by HE Ms Philippa King, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
I would like to thank the Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, for her briefing.
We are pleased to learn that the Prosecutor's Office is continuing its work in relation to the situation in Darfur, despite the significant challenges it faces.
We continue to be deeply concerned by violence in Darfur – inter-tribal hostilities have increased this year, including over natural resources, and large numbers of Darfuris have been displaced both internally and across borders. Those displaced face severe food and water shortages. Against this background of violence, displacement and humanitarian needs, UNAMID faces access restrictions which continue to hamper its ability to implement its mandate. We continue to call for UNAMID to be allowed to access all areas of Darfur, including places where clashes have occurred. The 19 April attack on UNAMID peacekeepers, in which one was killed and two were injured, must be condemned in the strongest terms and the perpetrators brought to justice.
It is important that the Council provides strong support to political reconciliation efforts underpinned by the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. But recent violent incidents demonstrate the risks posed to those embracing the path of dialogue, and the importance, therefore, of a commitment to ensuring that those who disrupt that path with violence are held to account. Because without a commitment to justice and accountability it will be difficult to achieve, and sustain, peace.
Indeed, the current climate of impunity in Darfur sends a dangerous message of tolerance to would-be perpetrators of serious international crimes and other violations of international law. In this context, we commend the Office of the Prosecutor for its continued monitoring of possible Rome Statute crimes. We are deeply concerned by the references in the Prosecutor's report to attacks on civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, attacks on those trying to help the people of Sudan – including peacekeepers -and the denial of humanitarian access. The Council's condemnation of such crimes was set out clearly in its Resolution 2091.
In particular, reports of alleged aerial bombardments by Sudanese Armed Forces resulting in civilian casualties must be properly investigated. This has not been possible due to restrictions on access to affected areas, meaning humanitarian assistance was also prevented at critical times. It is unacceptable that UNAMID personnel were denied access to investigate an alleged aerial bombardment carried out by the SAF; and it is equally unacceptable that UNAMID personnel have been prevented from investigating alleged reports of sexual violence.
So it is against this background, and with deep regret, that we note also the Prosecutor's account of the Government of Sudan's non-cooperation with the Court, in disregard of Resolution 1593. The Council needs to do more to support the Court and to secure Sudan's cooperation, so that we may meet our commitment to bring to justice those responsible for serious international crimes.
We are also deeply disappointed by the failure of some ICC States Parties to arrest and surrender the four Sudanese individuals subject to outstanding ICC arrest warrants. We commend the Prosecutor on the outreach efforts she has made to remind States of the importance of them meeting their obligations to cooperate with the Court. We look forward to consulting with other Council members as to what the Council can do to assist the Court in this regard.
There are steps that can be taken to underscore the international community's commitment to ensuring that those accused of serious international crimes are held to account. We have previously expressed the view that the Council's sanctions committees should give consideration to ICC arrest warrants and summonses to appear with a view to ensuring greater consistency between sanctions lists and ICC indictments. Other steps are outlined in the useful document produced by the Office of the Prosecutor which maps the instances of outstanding arrest warrants. It highlights the need to intensify efforts to isolate ICC fugitives, as well as the importance of making collaborative efforts to plan for and execute arrest warrants. The UN Secretary-General's guidance for the UN Secretariat on contact with those subject to ICC arrest warrants is also helpful in this context.
We note recent debate about the role of the ICC. Australia remains firmly of the view that the ICC can play an important role in ending impunity in conflict and post-conflict situations. But it is also important to recall that all States must fulfil their obligations under international law – whether those obligations derive from being a party to the Rome Statute, or from resolutions of this Council. The Council must also strongly support the Court in its efforts to conduct its work, and Darfur is no exception. We need to continue to discuss ways in which the Council can assist the Court in ending impunity for crimes in Darfur and achieve at least a measure of justice for victims.
We look forward to further updates from the Prosecutor and we would be pleased to have an opportunity to participate in an Informal Interactive Dialogue with her on the situation in Darfur.
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