Statement by Sweden at the UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan ICC
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on International Criminal Court (Sudan), 12 December 2017, New York.
I join others in welcoming the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, back to the Security Council. I thank you for your comprehensive briefing and report, as well as your office's continued work in the fight against impunity. Let me once again reiterate our strong support for the efforts of the Office of the Prosecutor, whose call for the full backing of the Security Council and all member states must be heeded.
The challenges that the Office of the Prosecutor faces in relation to the Darfur situation, and the support needed to overcome them, are known to all of us. It is time for action to resolve them. Ultimately, it is the survivors and victims in Darfur that pay the highest price when justice and accountability are not ensured. It is vital that the Security Council follows through on its decisions so that neither the Council's authority nor the functioning of the Court is undermined. We share the Prosecutor's view, that the success of the referral of the Darfur situation to the Office of the Prosecutor continues to depend heavily upon the cooperation of States, in particular States Parties to the Rome Statute and members of this Council.
Sweden is, yet again, disappointed that there have been few developments since the last briefing that would allow the ICC to pursue its investigations further. All suspects remain at large. We reiterate our call on the Government of Sudan to cooperate fully with the ICC, in accordance with resolution 1593, and to fulfil its obligations to arrest and surrender individuals subject to arrest warrants. Further steps are also needed by the Government of Sudan to ensure justice for the women, men and children that suffered horrendous crimes during the conflict in Darfur.
It is a matter of concern that President Al-Bashir has been able to continue to travel internationally, including to States Parties to the Rome Statute. We are also deeply concerned about the ability of other suspects in the Darfur situation to travel, including Mr Hussein and Mr Harun. We echo the declaration on 14 November of the European Union and its Member States, which expressed regret regarding President Al-Bashir's recent visit to Uganda, a State Party to the Rome Statute. We also note yesterday's finding of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the Court regarding Jordan. We urge State Parties and other member states to cooperate fully with the Court and to arrest and surrender suspects. As is stipulated in the Rome Statute, and as the Court has concluded, the official capacity of a person shall not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over such a person.
Like others, we continue to raise the issue of non-cooperation with relevant governments. In order for the ICC to fulfil its important mandate, and without its own enforcement mechanism, the Court relies on the cooperation of States, including for the implementation of arrest warrants. As we said when we last met, this Council should approach cases of non-cooperation in a structured manner and – as a minimum – discuss which tools it has, if any, for an appropriate response.
Sweden recognises the ongoing debate on the ICC among African countries. The ICC was not set up to be a court for Africa. The Rome Statute for the ICC is based on global values and needs more State Parties, not fewer. We stand ready to listen to the concerns of States Parties and to discuss the challenges experienced in their relations with the ICC. In this regard, as the Prosecutor has said, we urge any State Party that identifies a challenge precluding it from fully cooperating with the ICC under the Statute to consult with the Court in a timely manner, in order to resolve the matter. We also believe that this Council should stand ready to meet with the African Union Open-Ended Committee on the ICC.
We note in the report that the number of reported rape cases in Darfur have declined, but the issue of sexual and gender based violence remains a serious problem. A holistic approach for sustaining peace and addressing root causes of instability, including building effective rule of law institutions, is essential as we address remaining challenges.
Impunity and lack of accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law can never be accepted. We must give the Court all our support as it carries out this important work.