Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan ICC
National statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Sudan International Criminal Court, 14 December 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
And thank you Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for your updates to the Council today.
We welcome the important developments that have been made in the ongoing investigations, including the collection of evidence by the Darfur investigation team, since we last met in June. It is evident that the Office of the Prosecutor and relevant partners continue to make progress on this file.
Member states, on the other hand, continue to fail in upholding their responsibilities. All suspects remain at large, and the President of Sudan continues to travel internationally, including to State Parties to the Rome Statute that have an obligation to arrest and surrender him to the Court. The failure to implement the Court’s orders is not only disappointing, it is disturbing.
For the last time as Council member, we call on the Government of Sudan and all member states to cooperate fully with the ICC, in accordance with resolution 1593, and arrest individuals subject to arrest warrants. The Government of Sudan must also take further steps to ensure justice for the women, men, girls and boys that have been victims of horrendous crimes during the conflict in Darfur.
The issue of non-cooperation with the Court remains a challenging one. Without its own enforcement mechanism, the Court relies on States to fulfil its mandate, including by executing arrest warrants. This Council should approach cases of non-cooperation in a structured manner. We support the proposal made by France at our last briefing, in regard to inviting member states who have been found to be in non-compliance with the Court’s orders to address this Council. The Court’s decisions must be respected.
Turning to the current situation in Darfur, we welcome that the reported violence against civilians has declined and that the overall situation has continued to improve, as noted in the Prosecutor’s report. However, we remain concerned about the reported sexual and gender related violence, which 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 to address remaining challenges. A sustained focus on peacebuilding and development activities remains critical, and in this regard, we welcome the Presidential Statement adopted earlier this week on this very issue.
During Sweden’s two years on this Council, we have followed the work of the ICC and the Prosecutor’s office closely. We have seen how the Court, through dedicated and efficient action, has taken significant steps to ensure accountability for perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humanity. The Court has continuously contributed to the advancement of international criminal law, including by rendering land-mark verdicts on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, which is a matter that Sweden has paid particular attention to during our time on the Council.
We have also seen the tireless efforts by the Prosecutor to engage the international community, not least the African Union and African states, and inform all member states about the work of the Court. We commend the Prosecutor’s outreach efforts. We are also encouraged by her work on integrating a gender perspective and analysis into the office’s work, including policies on sexual and gender based crimes as well as children.
This year has been a special year, as we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute. Only a few days ago, we also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, which are both based on the idea of the inherent and inviolable rights of every individual and the need for individual criminal responsibility for mass atrocities. The international community’s recognition that upholding human rights and pursuing justice are fundamental for a just and sustainable peace. This acknowledgement, reflected by the actions of the UN and international criminal justice, now forms part of the fabric of this organization.
This year’s anniversaries remind us of how much we, through joint efforts, have achieved for the development of the international justice system. We should be proud, but regrettably, our achievements have been clouded by an increased pressure and hostile rhetoric against the Court.
We therefore repeat what we said during the briefing on the Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals earlier this week, namely that as regrettable as this situation is, what it also tells us is that the work of the international court and tribunals has real impact. The courts and the tribunals were not established to serve or depend on any one country’s interests. They were set up to serve justice for victims and assure accountability for perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humanity and naturally, they are uncomfortable for those who violate international law.
The ICC is not targeted at any particular region or continent – it is impartial and goes wherever justice is most at danger. It is a Court of last resort which complements and does not replace national courts. Complementarity and cooperation between national jurisdictions and the Court are essential features of the Rome Statute.
We conclude by reiterating our steadfast support for the Court and the Office of the Prosecutor. Madam Bensouda, your unwavering commitment to justice is admirable and we commend you for your continuous fight for accountability, not least in these challenging times.
Thank you, Mr. President.