Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Prosector Bensouda, for your briefing.
The United States welcomes the continued role of the International Criminal Court in the fight against impunity for atrocities committed in Darfur. We note the progress of the proceedings in the Abdallah Banda Abaker Nourain and Saleh Jerbo case and hope this trial will be the first of several concerning the situation in Darfur.
At the same time, it remains clear that the Government of Sudan is still not cooperating with the ICC to execute the outstanding arrest warrants in the Darfur cases, despite its obligations under Security Council Resolution 1593. The subjects of these warrants remain at large in Sudan and continue to cross international borders. The United States stands with the many states that refuse to admit those individuals to their countries and commends those who have spoken out against President Bashir’s continued travel. We oppose invitations, facilitation, or support for travel by those subject to ICC arrest warrants in Darfur and we urge other states to do the same.
As the Prosecutor notes, there have been continued instances of non-cooperation. On March 26, the Court issued a decision that the Republic of Chad failed to comply with its obligations when it welcomed Bashir for a visit – his fourth visit to Chad since the ICC issued an arrest warrant on March 4, 2009. Then, on April 25-26, Chad hosted Defense Minister Abdel Raheem Hussein, and on May 11, Chad again hosted President Bashir without any attempt to arrest him. The United States would welcome discussion of follow-up on the ICC’s decision, which was referred to this Council.
The Prosecutor’s report comes amid ongoing developments related to Darfur that are of great concern to the United States. The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan notes that the Government of Sudan has not upheld its commitments in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur to establish credible local justice and accountability mechanisms; nor has it made the Special Court for Darfur operational or requested international observers from the AU and UN for the court. Despite the conviction in February of six Popular Defense Force soldiers accused of killing a community leader in Abu Zereiga, the Secretary-General’s latest report on the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) expressed serious concern about the lack of accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur.
Furthermore, the United States is deeply concerned about the increasing violence in Darfur, including reports of aerial bombardments targeting or indiscriminately affecting civilians, sexual and gender based violence and other crimes, and continuing attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers. As a result, the United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have fled fighting in all of Darfur in the first five months of this year, which is more than the total number of people displaced in the last two years together. On April 19, one peacekeeper was killed and two injured in an attack on the UNAMID Team Site in Muhajariya by individuals wearing Sudanese army uniforms. We condemn in the strongest terms these continuing attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers and Sudan’s failure to prosecute those responsible.
The international community must reverse the escalating violence and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur. Ensuring accountability for serious violations of international law must be part of this effort. Continued impunity for crimes in Darfur has sent a message to Khartoum that there are no consequences for violence against non-combatants, a lesson it has applied tragically not only in Darfur but in the Two Areas as well. The Banda and Jerbo case is an important test, but the Government of Sudan has much more to do, and this Council must insist that Sudan fulfill its obligations.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Cross posted at U.S. Mission to the UN