Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing by the ICC Prosecutor for Sudan

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 13, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Prosecutor Khan, for your report and for your briefing today on the Court’s ongoing investigations and prosecutions in the situation in Darfur. We appreciate the unwavering commitment of the Court’s judges, attorneys, and staff to the pursuit of justice for the people of Darfur.

The situation in Darfur is deeply disturbing. We hear credible reports of mass violence by the Rapid Support Forces – the RSF – and allied forces, including horrific forms of sexual violence, killings based on ethnicity, and attacks that target civilians.

That such violence is being perpetrated against the people of Darfur – who have already experienced genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that prompted the ICC’s investigation in the first place – is particularly devastating. As we have said before: the fighting must stop immediately and with it the unconscionable killing of civilians.

We condemn the atrocities committed by both parties throughout the country in the strongest terms. We call on the leadership on both sides to immediately stop the violence; enable humanitarian aid, medical care, and appropriate services to survivors; and submit to a genuine process of dispute resolution. There is no acceptable military solution to this conflict.

Prosecutor Khan, we concur with your conclusion that this violence is a product of years of impunity: this includes a failure to hold those responsible for these most egregious crimes accountable and the failure to provide justice to the people of Darfur.

Sudan’s failure to follow through on its UN Charter obligations and its obligations to cooperate with the ICC over the past two decades under Security Council Resolution 1593 reveals a disturbing pattern of disregard for international legal obligations, the rule of law, and human life.

We therefore welcome the Prosecutor’s announcement that alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the current fighting may be subject to ICC investigation and prosecution and that his office has commenced focused investigations on recent events.

We commend the efficient progress that has been made over the past six months in the trial of former Janjaweed commander, Mr. Abd-al Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, despite many challenges, and acknowledge the courage of the witnesses and victims who have come forward.

We also support efforts to bring to justice the four other current suspects with outstanding warrants in the Darfur situation – former president Omar al-Bashir, former Minister Ahmed Harun, former Minister Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, and Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain. It is critical that the present whereabouts of these individuals be determined so they can face the serious charges against them.

Let this be a warning to these and other fugitives, as well as to all others who would consider committing war crimes and other atrocities, including those involving acts of sexual violence, in Sudan and elsewhere: the international community maintains an unrelenting commitment to individual criminal accountability and will not rest until those who stand accused of committing atrocities face justice.

We urge all states to cooperate with the ICC in the Darfur situation and deliver the justice promised to the people of Darfur.

Mr. President, we urge all nations to join us in supporting efforts to hold accountable those responsible for atrocities in Darfur – past and present – and in standing with the people of Sudan in their quest for peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.