13 December 2012Statement by Ambassador Philip Parham, UK Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the UN, to the ICC Darfur briefing
I thank Ms Bensouda for her report and briefing. She has clearly set out the action which the International Criminal Court has taken over the last six months on Darfur, and the areas on which the Court will focus in the coming months.
But regrettably, Mr President, the last six months have not seen much progress in Darfur. The implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur is significantly behind schedule, despite the timetable having being extended by a year in July. The Government of Sudan has failed to deliver its funding commitments to the Darfur Regional Authority. As a result, the Authority lacks both the human and financial resources required to deliver the change so desperately needed by the people of Darfur. There has not even been much progress on the non-financial commitments. There is little evidence that the Special Court is operating or that the Special Prosecutor is filing cases, for example.
The recent announcement that JEM-Bashar, a splinter group of the Justice and Equality Movement, will begin negotiations with the Government in Doha this month is cause for cautious optimism. We will continue to urge those other movements which have not signed the Doha Document to engage constructively in the peace process. And we hope that all Darfuris will be given the opportunity to engage in an internal dialogue without fear of reprisal.
The lack of political progress is compounded by the deterioration in the security situation in Darfur, and in North Darfur in particular. International human rights and humanitarian law continue to be violated. Attacks in Sigili saw civilians once again suffering as fighting between Government forces and the armed movements continued. The reported massacre in Hashaba in September is of extreme concern with around 70 civilians reported dead following armed militia activity and aerial bombardments. UNAMID also continues to come under attack. Six peacekeepers have been killed in the last six months. None of the perpetrators of these attacks has been brought to justice. This is an outrage and must be condemned.
It is unacceptable that UNAMID continues to be prevented from gaining access to investigate such attacks. We have also seen restrictions on the access of humanitarian agencies, the UN Panel of Experts and the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights. This, too, is unacceptable. The Government and armed movements must stop preventing access by humanitarian agencies to those most in need of assistance, and must allow full access to Darfur for those mandated by this Council.
Given these ongoing and deeply troubling issues, the continuing jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in Darfur is all the more relevant, and the Prosecutor’s continued efforts to monitor and investigate allegations are vital.
Attempts to argue that this Council didn’t have the right and power to refer the situation in Darfur to the jurisdiction of the ICC are entirely specious.
We welcome the progress in the trials of Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo. It is unacceptable, however, that the Government of Sudan continues to obstruct the pursuit of justice for the people of Darfur and has failed to take action to enforce the four outstanding arrest warrants. The Government of Sudan is bound to comply with the obligation, laid down by this Council in resolution 1593, to co-operate fully with the ICC and its investigations. The United Kingdom has repeatedly urged the Government of Sudan to comply with this obligation and we repeat that call today. Indeed we call on all states whether State Parties to the Rome Statute or not, to assist and cooperate with the ICC to end impunity.
And this Council, which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC, should consider what it can do to assist the ICC.
In conclusion, we want once again to thank Ms Bensouda – not just for her briefing today but for the continuing work of the Office of the Prosecutor. We will continue to work together to achieve justice for the victims of this conflict.
Thank you, Mr President.