President, I thank the Prosecutor for the thirty-sixth report on the Situation in Darfur, pursuant to Resolution 1593 and for his presentation today.
We welcome the swift progress made in the trial of Mr Abd-Al-Rahman as a historic step towards seeking accountability for survivors and affected communities in Darfur after many years. In this light, the UK would like to commend the ICC’s tireless commitment for more than 17 years to help deliver justice for the people of Darfur.
The trial of Mr Abd-Al-Rahman has enabled victims and witnesses to courageously tell their stories and to demonstrate to other victims that justice can be delivered. Such progress is an example of how strong cooperation with the ICC can translate into meaningful action.
It is therefore deeply disappointing that sufficient cooperation has been lacking from the Sudanese authorities, despite their reassurances to the Chief Prosecutor during his visits to Sudan.
Stronger engagement would demonstrate that the Sudanese authorities are serious about delivering their commitments on transitional justice, as outlined in the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement and the initial Framework Agreement signed 5th December 2022.
The UK urges the Sudanese authorities to immediately enhance their cooperation with the Court, in three areas in particular:
Firstly, we call on the Sudanese authorities to provide prompt access to Sudan, including unimpeded access to documentary archives and witnesses relevant to the Court’s investigations.
Secondly, a permanent presence is vital for the Office of the Prosecutor to deepen its engagement with affected communities. We therefore urge the Sudanese authorities to help facilitate the establishment of a field office in Khartoum, and to remove the unnecessary bureaucratic impediments preventing Court staff from being granted multiple-entry visas to Sudan and to give access to ICC staff to Darfur.
Thirdly, the UK calls on the Sudanese authorities to respond swiftly to the Court’s outstanding requests for assistance, noting that 34 requests currently remain outstanding, with no responses received in the current reporting period.
Finally, Mr President, we welcome and encourage the continuation of cooperation between the Court and third States, which has proved vital, particularly in the absence of sufficient cooperation from the Sudanese authorities.
The UK would like to reiterate our support to the Court in delivering justice for the people of Darfur. In this respect, we call for action to deliver on the four ICC warrants which remain outstanding in the Darfur situation, and we continue to call for the surrender of Mr Banda, who remains a fugitive from justice.