|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6974th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Must Show ‘Courage and Conviction’ to Ensure Justice for Victims
of Heinous Crimes in Darfur, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Says
Fatou Bensouda Says Council Inaction on Communications from Judges
‘A Matter of Great Concern’; Some Members Note National Judicial Progress in Sudan
It was long past time for the Security Council to act with “courage and conviction” by adopting measures to ensure that those responsible for grave atrocities in Darfur were brought to justice sooner rather than later, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court told the 15-member body today, as she presented her latest report on the conflict-ridden region in Sudan.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said it was with deep frustration, and even despair, that she presented the Court’s seventeenth briefing on the situation in Darfur, as each one was normally followed by paralysis in the Council, while the plight of victims in Darfur had gone “from bad to worse”. Her disappointment should come as no surprise. Some 300,000 people had been displaced in 2013 alone ‑ more than in the last two years ‑ while aerial bombardments, which could only be attributed to one party, the use of sexual violence and impunity for such crimes persisted.
Moreover, there were reports that Court indictee Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ‑ known as Ali Kushayb ‑ had been involved with Sudanese Government forces in clashes in Central Darfur, she said, with witnesses placing him at the scene of an 8 April attack on the town of Abu Jeradil and riding in a Government vehicle with the Central Reserve Police and Border Intelligence. Other reports spoke to the involvement of Court indictees Ahmad Harun and Abdel Raheem Hussein in alleged crimes elsewhere in Sudan, and the repeated travels of Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir, for whom there was an outstanding arrest warrant.
“It is a matter of great concern that this Council has failed to act on any of the seven formal communications from the judges of the International Criminal Court regarding these matters,” she stressed. “We have done our part.” The Government of Sudan must bring all criminals to justice, arrest and try suspects of crimes against the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and facilitate humanitarian aid delivery. The Council, for its part, must find creative ways to engage with the Court and all relevant organizations to assess the shared goal of bringing justice to alleged perpetrators of the most serious crimes in Darfur.
Taking issue with those remarks, the representative of Sudan said his Government did not recognize the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction. The Prosecutor’s demand to implement the arrest warrants against President Al-Bashir and other Sudanese officials was unacceptable. The conflict in Darfur had not spilled over international borders and had wrongly been described as a threat to international peace and security. He also refuted the claim that Sudan lacked a judiciary, explaining that a special court on Darfur had been set up and a prosecutor appointed to implement the Doha peace document. That prosecutor was investigating more than 53 criminal claims.
Moreover, he said the perpetrators of sexual violence were members of rebel movements under the banner of the so-called “Sudanese Revolutionary Front”. They had assassinated Sudanese leaders who had chosen a path of peace, attacked cities in Northern and Southern Kordofan and committed crimes against humanity. Despite those atrocities, the Council had not lifted a finger. The situation in Darfur had greatly improved since 2003. He urged the Council to support all efforts to establish peace and security, and thus, enable all parties to work on the reconstruction and development of Sudan in general, and Darfur in particular.
When the floor was open for debate, delegates decried the continued violence in Darfur, and in particular, the recent assassination of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leaders who, in April, had signed a peace agreement with Sudan. Many urged implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, which they described as the one viable avenue for establishing peace in Darfur, while others, including Pakistan’s delegate, cautioned that time was needed for its provisions to be tested in the field.
Speakers also pressed Sudan to respect the Court’s outstanding arrest warrants and called on all States to end impunity. The representative of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency for June, regretted that some Rome Statute States parties had failed to do so, stressing that the Council should urgently consider its options for achieving peace in Darfur.
Still others took a nuanced view of the Court’s behaviour, with some reminding the Prosecutor to adhere to the principle of complementarity, which allowed the Court to investigate and prosecute crimes only when national jurisdictions were unable or unwilling to do so. Togo’s representative, whose country was not a party to the Rome Statute, cited difficulties faced by the defence in the Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo case in accessing documents and logistical support. He would welcome any initiative by the Court to ensure that States were defended and that trials were fair.
Morocco’s delegate noted that the Court’s decision to indict the Sudanese President had never enjoyed international consensus. Rwanda’s delegate acknowledged Sudan’s nomination of a special prosecutor to investigate war crimes, which was a significant step towards achieving justice and accountability. Since February 2009, African Heads of State had adopted several decisions on deferring proceedings of the indictment of Mr. Al-Bashir, he said, adding that the search for justice should be pursued in a way that did not jeopardize lasting peace.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Luxembourg, United States, Guatemala, France, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, Argentina, Republic of Korea, China and Australia.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 11:46 a.m.
The Security Council met today to hear a briefing by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
FATOU BENSOUDA, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said it was with deep frustration, and even despair, that she presented the Court’s seventeenth briefing to the Council on the situation of Darfur, Sudan. “Regrettably, each briefing has been followed by inaction and paralysis within the Council while the plight of victims of crimes committed in Darfur has gone from bad to worse.” Her disappointment should come as no surprise, given the serious concerns shared within the United Nations about the situation, especially that 300,000 people had been displaced in 2013 alone ‑ more than in the last two years.
As outlined in resolution 2091 (2013), she said the ongoing aerial bombardments in Darfur, which could only be attributed to one party; the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war; and the deliberate imposition of restrictions on humanitarian aid and impunity for such crimes were “major” problems ‑ “for all of us who care about what happens to the Darfuri victims”. She shared the Council’s concerns that business relations with Sudan, if not monitored, could facilitate crimes against civilians. Normalization of relations should not come at such a high price to victims.
She had noted the Council’s particular concern about the actions of some people affiliated with the Government of Sudan and armed groups, who continued to commit violence, as they were inherently disinterested in the peace process or the Council’s demands. They did not place the true interests of Sudan first and enjoyed impunity. It was for that reason that the Council had referred the situation in Darfur to the Court to address individual criminal responsibility for the most serious crimes. “We have done our part,” she said, stressing that it was now time for the Council to live up to the legitimate expectations of Darfur’s victims: that those responsible for daily suffering were brought to justice. The disproportionate effects of their actions could no longer be ignored.
With that in mind, she said the Government of Sudan must end impunity in Darfur by bringing all criminals to justice, arresting and trying the suspects of crimes against the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and facilitating humanitarian aid delivery by cancelling visa restrictions. The United Nations must work with the African Union and her Office to monitor progress in that regard. “We have repeated this call too many times without effect,” she said, noting that she had previously expressed her commitment to working with regional organizations, including the League of Arab States and the African Union. The recommendations of the Union High-Level Panel on Darfur on justice would go a long way to address the deliberate tolerance of impunity.
She went on to note reports of the involvement of Court indictee Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ‑known as Ali Kushayb ‑ with Sudanese Government forces in clashes in Central Darfur in April. Witnesses had placed him at scene of an 8 April attack on the town of Abu Jeradil and riding in a Government vehicle with the Central Reserve Police and Border Intelligence. Reportedly, large numbers of armed men wearing khaki uniforms shot indiscriminately, burned homes and stole livestock, leaving more than 100 civilians dead. Observers had suggested the Government of Sudan wanted to appease the Misseriya and Ta’ish tribes, who had participated in the Janjaweed/militia.
She also spoke to the ongoing involvement of Court indictees Ahmad Harun and Abdel Raheem Hussein in alleged crimes elsewhere in Sudan, which required urgent action. The repeated travels of Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir, notably to Chad, also required attention. “It is a matter of great concern that this Council has failed to act on any of the seven formal communications from the judges of the International Criminal Court regarding these matters,” she stressed. She also strongly encouraged a critical assessment of whether recent contacts by the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs with Mr. Al Bashir, Mr. Hussein and Mr. Harun had contributed to the successful conduct of United Nations-mandated duties. “We must be careful not to embolden fugitives from justice to think that they will be rewarded for manipulating their way into positions of indispensability,” she said.
With that, she encouraged the Council to find creative ways to engage with all relevant organizations and the international Court, to assess progress in shared goals, especially on bringing justice to alleged perpetrators of the most serious crimes. Since the “Guatemala initiative” last October and the informal interactive dialogue last month, the relationship between the Court and the Council had begun to strengthen. But more must be done to unlock the potential of the two institutions to prevent and resolve conflict. “Time is long past due for this Council to act with courage and conviction by adopting appropriate measures within its mandate to ensure that Sudan fugitives are brought to justice sooner rather than later,” she declared.
OLIVIER MAES (Luxembourg) expressed hope that next time the Council would be able to have an informal interactive dialogue with the Prosecutor as it had last month concerning the situation in Libya. Several of the Council’s past concerns persisted, and he deeply regretted that the arrest warrants against Ahmad Haran, Ali Kushayb, Omar Al-Bashir and Abdel Raheem Hussein had still not been implemented. Sudanese Government forces and armed militia in Darfur operated with full impunity. The indiscriminate attacks on civilians, obstruction of humanitarian aid, and kidnapping of peacekeeping soldiers were worrisome. He was also concerned over the ongoing restrictions of Sudanese authorities on UNAMID, which prevented the Mission from accessing areas of combat and carrying out investigations into allegations of sexual violence. Particularly worrying were the aerial bombardments of the Sudanese army on civilians.
He condemned acts of gender- and sexual-based violence, all of which violated Council resolutions, most recently resolution 2091 (2013). The Sudanese Government had the primary responsibility to implement Council resolutions and cooperate with the International Criminal Court. The Council should not weaken in its determination to ensure that indictees were brought to justice. He asked all States parties to the Rome Statute to cooperate fully and the Council to reflect on what it could do to help the Court. He deplored Chad’s lack of implementation of the Court’s demands, but meanwhile, welcomed the guidelines issued on 3 April by the Secretary-General on the non-essential contact of Secretariat members with individuals sought by the Court, and he called on all States to follow them.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) noted progress in the proceedings in the Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo case, but said it remained clear that the Sudanese Government still was not cooperating with the Court to execute outstanding arrest warrants. Subjects remained at large in Sudan and continued to cross international borders. The United States refused to admit those indictees within its borders and it urged all other countries to do the same. He expressed concern over continued instances of non-cooperation with the international Court. On 26 March, it had issued a decision that Chad had failed to comply with its obligations when it had allowed Sudanese President Al-Bashir to visit. On 11 May, Chad again had hosted Mr. Al-Bashir. The United States would welcome follow up on the Court’s decision.
He noted that the United Nations independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan had found that the Sudanese Government had not upheld its commitments for peace in Darfur, nor had the International Criminal Court operationalized the Special Court for Darfur. He was concerned over reports of aerial bombardments and continued attacks against civilians and peacekeepers. An estimated 300,000 people had fled the fighting in Darfur in the first five months of 2013 alone. Humanitarian access remained problematic, owing to restrictions imposed by the Sudanese Government. He condemned attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers and Sudan’s failure to prosecute those responsible. Continued impunity for crimes in Darfur sent a message to Darfur that there were no consequences for violence.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda) strongly condemned the continued fighting in Sudan and remained deeply concerned over human rights violations in Darfur. He acknowledged the Sudanese Government’s efforts to improve the situation in Darfur, including the nomination of a Special Prosecutor to investigate war crimes, which was a significant step towards justice and accountability. But, much remained to be done. In that, he encouraged the Sudanese Government to make efforts to prosecute indictees wanted by the International Criminal Court. Only a political situation would bring peace to Darfur, but despite progress, the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur was yet to be implemented. Strengthening of the rule of law and human rights was hindered due to the failure to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire.
He said that the success of the Doha Document would depend on the willingness of relevant parties to abide by its provisions. Rwanda was not a signatory to the Rome Statute, he noted, adding that, since February 2009, African Heads of State had adopted several decisions on deferring proceedings of the indictment of Mr. Al-Bashir. The search for justice should be pursued in a way that did not jeopardize lasting peace. All African countries that had received President Al-Bashir since his indictment were in conformity with their obligations, and it was unfortunate that they were sanctioned for their efforts. He underscored the need for genuine cooperation between the Security Council and subregional and regional organizations.
JOSÉ ALBERTO BRIZ GUTIÉRREZ (Guatemala) welcomed the investigative work by the Prosecutor’s Office to put an end to impunity in Darfur. At the same time, he was concerned by the report’s description of multiple air attacks by Sudanese forces against unarmed civilians. Tension between Sudanese forces and armed movements had intensified, leading to disputes over natural resources and an increased number of internally displaced persons, reaching 300,000 in the first five months of 2013 alone. Attacks against human rights officials and all other violations should be investigated.
He said that his country, as a State party to the Rome Statute, could not ignore the suffering caused by violent acts in Darfur. He was concerned at the lack of regard for arrest warrants and felt the lack of cooperation by the Sudanese Government was unacceptable. Also of concern was the lack of cooperation in that regard by some other States parties to the Rome Statute, particularly when certain individuals had travelled to their countries. He called on Governments to cooperate effectively with the international Court and stressed that it was of fundamental importance to strengthen cooperation between the Council and the Court, including by following up its referrals. That required the political will of all States and a united international community in the face of non-cooperation. He supported the guidelines on non-essential contact of Secretariat staff with people wanted by the international Court.
MARTIN BRIENS (France) said there was no disagreement that the fate of civilians in Darfur remained unacceptable. Aerial bombardments by the Sudanese Air Force and participation by security forces in attacks against civilians, among other actions, threatened everyone. In the almost nine years since the Darfur situation was brought to the Court’s attention, four indictees for war crimes evaded the Court: Mr. Bashir, Mr. Kushayb, Mr. Hussein and Mr. Haroun, who were sought for genocide perpetrated through methods that they had hoped would remain invisible. The Council had underscored that impunity had allowed them to perpetrate the same crimes in South Kordofan.
He said there was no disagreement on how to end the cycle of violence. The Court had done a preliminary analysis of crimes, issued arrest warrants and initiated judicial proceedings against rebels who had decided to voluntarily surrender. However, Sudan had not lived up to its responsibilities or taken any steps to try the indictees. The Council must encourage cooperation by all parties, especially given the refusal of two countries in the last six months to cooperate. Perpetrators must be isolated and punished. Additionally, certain individuals should be added to the sanctions committee’s list and real pressure should be exerted on the parties to end the violence.
SAMIR SHARIFOV (Azerbaijan) said that, while his country was not a signatory to the Rome Statute, it acknowledged the rights and obligations of States parties and reiterated that the Prosecutor’s actions should comply with Council resolution 1593 (2005). There was no military solution to the situation in Darfur, and the Doha Document remained the sustainable basis for conflict resolution. As such, he urged those groups that had not done so to join the peace process without preconditions. He expressed concern at the security situation, especially restrictions on humanitarian aid access and increased civilian casualties during attacks by non-signatory armed groups. Reports of killing, rape and looting should be investigated, with the perpetrators brought to justice.
Noting that the Sudanese Government continued to diffuse inter-communal tensions, he said that, unfortunately, the international presence in Darfur had faced constant attacks during the last six months. The 9 April killing of a Nigerian peacekeeper should be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, he said, urging international support for the implementation of the Doha Document.
KODJO MENAN (Togo), noting that his country was not a State party to the Rome Statute, focused on the case of Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo, stressing that the pre-trial Chamber should set a date for the trial to begin in order to guarantee the rights of those accused. It was important to meet expectations for swift justice. Regarding cooperation among the United Nations, the Council, States and the Court, he said the Council would benefit from fostering communication with the Court, even if only to acknowledge receipt of communications addressed to it. The Court’s relations with States must respect the principle of complementarity.
He noted that the Prosecutor’s sixteenth report had cited difficulties in accessing documents and logistical support for the defence in the Banda and Jerbo case, and said that while solutions had been found, he would welcome any initiative by the Court’s bodies to ensure that States were defended and that trials were fair. He also encouraged the Prosecutor to advance its investigations into aerial bombardments and land attacks in Sudan.
EVGENY T. ZAGAYNOV (Russian Federation) supported the Court’s efforts to investigate the situation in Darfur, voicing concern at the deteriorating security situation, owing to rebel activities and tribal clashes over increased competition for resources. Decisions taken at the All Darfur Stakeholders Conference must be implemented and a political settlement must be found, based on the Doha agreements. The time was right to consider the use of sanctions against those guilty of killing Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leaders, who, in April, had signed a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan. In several cases, grounds could emerge for the opening of new criminal cases and he urged an objective legal assessment.
He went on to stress that the Court’s role was to strictly carry out judicial functions, but its investigations must not be divorced from overall efforts to reduce suffering. He commended the Prosecutor’s efforts and said that the Secretary-General’s adoption of a manual for United Nations personnel in dealing with people subject to the Court’s arrest warrants was a “step in the right direction”. On proposals for Council follow-up, he said any ideas would be viewed from the point of view of practical usefulness, the Court’s mandate and in the international context. He added that the Working Group on International Tribunals was not the right format for discussing the Court.
MARIA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina) encouraged the Prosecutor to continue to investigate human rights and international law violations in Darfur, noting that the description of crimes took up a large section of the Prosecutor’s report. The Security Council needed to understand that “without justice impunity is not only perpetrated, but also multiplied,” she said, concurring with the Panel of Experts on the Sudan that a change was needed to the status quo. She regretted Sudan’s position with regard to the Court, stressing that that country was bound to cooperate under resolution 1593 (2005) and as a State party to the Rome Statute. Chad also had “disregarded its obligation to cooperate with the Court”. The Council could not “elude responsibility for referrals”, which it had made to the Court, and it needed to address letters it had received about non-cooperation.
She said that resolution 1593 (2005) exempted nationals of States not party to the Rome Statute from the Court’s jurisdiction “for acts or omissions” derived from operations established or authorized by the Council, which, she believed, contradicted the Rome Statute and risked compromising the credibility of both the Council and the Court. Another provision of resolution 1593 (2005) ‑ that the United Nations would not defray the costs of the Darfur referral ‑ also contradicted the Rome Statute and risked the long-term viability of the Court and Prosecutor.
MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan) said his country was not a party to the Rome Statute, but it acknowledged the rights and obligations of States parties. He supported peace through an inclusive political process. The goal of durable peace could only be realized through a comprehensive multipronged strategy, which should provide the impetus to promote justice and reconciliation, address human rights and end impunity for violations. He supported efforts of the African Union to achieve peace and justice in Darfur and said that the rights of Islamic States should also be given due weight. He welcomed several important steps to implement the Doha Document, including the transfer of funds to a regional authority in Darfur and the holding of a pledging conference. Parties to the Doha accord should implement their commitments, he said, stressing the need for progress under the land and property provisions.
He said that attacks against peacekeepers were of serious concern. They should be swiftly investigated and perpetrators brought to justice, and sanctions should be imposed on all armed movements. The Doha Document was new, and time was needed for it to be tested in the field. Durable peace and stability in Sudan was a strong aspiration of the Sudanese people and an imperative for regional peace and security. More must be done to help resolve the complex problem in a holistic manner. He added that the United Nations and the International Criminal Court were separate organizations, each with its own mandate.
LOTFI BOUCHAARA (Morocco) welcomed progress towards achieving a comprehensive peace in Darfur, including the setting up of a regional authority. He welcomed the 7 April pledging conference, but said development in Darfur could not be launched without the installation of peace and security. The resumption of violence between the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and the Justice and Equality Movement forces, combined with violent inter-tribal conflict, had caused more displacement. The international community must bear that in mind.
He reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to the principles of international humanitarian law and to the sovereignty and integrity of Sudan. He welcomed the signing of the Doha Document, and stated that reconciliation and sustained dialogue remained the only possible solution. The international Court’s decision to indict the Sudanese President had never enjoyed international consensus. The long process that would allow peace and stability to be restored could not be successful without the effective cooperation of all parties to the conflict.
SUL KYUNG-HOON (Republic of Korea) said hostilities involving numerous rebel groups had increased in Darfur and beyond, amid persistent reports of torture, sexual assault and other abuses. To achieve stability, all such allegations must be clarified, with the violators of international humanitarian law held accountable. She welcomed progress made in the Banda and Jerbo case and, more broadly, appreciated the Prosecutor’s efforts to investigate criminal activities in Darfur. She voiced concern about the deliberate targeting of civilians, attacks on peacekeepers and other crimes. It was incumbent on Sudan to fully cooperate with the Court, in line with resolution 1593 (2005), which the Council had adopted under the Charter’s Chapter VII. Also, the Council should consider actions to assist the Court. In sum, she called on States parties to promote cooperation and arrest those individuals wanted by the Court in relation to the Darfur situation.
SHEN BO (China) said the Darfur question was complex, especially in the context of security, stability and reconstruction. Above all, the political process was essential, as it was only through sustainable progress that durable peace could be achieved. The Doha Document formed the foundation for peace in Darfur, and he urged all signatories to fully implement it. Further, some rebels must stop their violence and sign the Doha agreements. He hoped the Court would play a positive role to that end. China’s position on the Court’s involvement in the Darfur situation remained unchanged. In that context, he urged due attention to regional organizations, such as the African Union and the Arab League.
PHILIPPA JANE KING (Australia) expressed deep concern over the increase in inter-tribal hostilities and the massive numbers of displaced Darfuris facing severe food and water shortages. In light of intensifying humanitarian needs, UNAMID’s restricted access was hampering its ability to carry out its mandate. As for prosecuting perpetrators of the heinous crimes and other international law violations, the current climate of impunity in Darfur sent a dangerous message of tolerance. It was especially outrageous that UNAMID personnel were denied access to investigate an alleged aerial bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces. UNAMID was also prevented from investigating reports of alleged sexual violence and from providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by inter-communal violence.
She deeply regretted the “unambiguous account” by the Court’s Prosecutor of the Sudanese Government’s non-cooperation and she called on the Council to do more to support the Court and secure Sudan’s cooperation. Failure to do so threatened to undermine not only the potential deterrent effect of Council referrals to the Court but the Council’s very authority. She was also deeply disappointed by the failure of some Rome Statute States parties to arrest and surrender the four Sudanese individuals subjected to the Court’s arrest warrants. There should be “greater consistency” between the Council’s sanctions committee lists and the Court’s indictments. Reported criticism of the Court at the recent African Union summit was troubling, not least because the majority of the Court’s current investigations had been initiated based on referrals from African States themselves. All States must fulfil their obligations, and the Council must strongly support the Court in its work; “Darfur is no exception,” she stressed.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) shared the concerns expressed by the Secretary-General, and noted with concern that in the first five months of this year there had been 300,000 internally displaced persons ‑ more than the total number in the last two years. Implementation of the ceasefire accord was way behind schedule. He welcomed the Justice and Equality Movement’s support for the Doha Document, and he condemned the attacks on its members. He called on all sides to cease hostilities and to engage in dialogue. UNAMID continued to have a crucial role towards achieving that settlement and access restrictions placed on it were unacceptable.
He thanked the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor for the updates on Mssrs. Banda and Jerbo. Reports that one of those indicted by the Court was present in the area of current conflict were particularly worrisome. The Sudanese Government had an obligation to cooperate with the Court. He called on all States to end impunity and encouraged them to ensure accountability. He regretted that some Rome Statute States parties had failed to do so. The Council should consider urgently what it should and could do to achieve peace in Darfur.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN (Sudan) said his participation in the meeting did not in any way mean recognition of the International Criminal Court, as it was not a member of the Rome Statute. Some of the statements just made contained false claims, based on faulty assumptions. That had been confirmed by eminent international personalities, who had refuted the charges of ethnic cleansing and genocide. The Prosecutor’s demand to implement the arrest warrants against President Al-Bashir and other Sudanese officials was unacceptable. The conflict in Darfur was internal; it had not spilled over international borders and it was wrongly described as a threat to international peace and security.
He said that what was deemed a lack of Sudanese judiciary to establish justice was also incorrect. He reiterated the professionalism of the Sudanese judiciary to uphold international law, stressing that the initial objective was to establish justice through the national judiciary; the international Court had a role to play only when national judiciary was unable to do so. The Court’s Prosecutor had taken the wrong approach when dealing with African issues. She disregarded Africa’s legal heritage. That approach had been rejected by Africa.
The Sudanese Government was strongly committed to fight impunity, he said. That was why it had set up a Special Court on Darfur and had appointed a public prosecutor, assisted by 12 legal advisors, for the Special Court for Darfur, in accordance with the Doha Document. That prosecutor had received and was investigating more than 53 criminal claims. Sudan’s Government exercised the sovereign right to defend its safety and territorial integrity. Those responsible for sexual violence were members of the rebel movements under the banner of the so-called Sudanese Revolutionary Front, which had assassinated Sudanese leaders who had chosen the path of peace. Those same perpetrators had also attacked cities in Northern and Southern Kordofan and had committed crimes against humanity. Despite those atrocities, the Council had not lifted a finger.
Continuing, he said that the statements on sexual violence were based on media reports. “That was bewildering. How could any judicial entity rely on media reports?” Valerie Amos had met with Sudan’s President and other senior Sudanese officials in Darfur. She had reiterated after her visit that rebels under the banner of the Revolutionary Front were responsible for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Kordofan. The situation in Darfur had greatly improved since 2003. He appealed to the Council to support all efforts to establish peace and security in order to enable all to work on reconstruction and development in Sudan in general, and in Darfur in particular.
* *** *For information media • not an official record