Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 23, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Prosecutor Khan, for your report and for your briefing to the Council today on the Court’s investigation into the situation in Darfur, including the moving insights from your visit and time in Darfur and Khartoum. My delegation will give great consideration to the recommendations you’ve made to the Council today. Let me also say, we are very grateful for your hard work and the sustained work by the judges, attorneys, and staff of the ICC in the unwavering pursuit of justice for Darfur.
As a result of the tireless efforts of the court, in April, the United States welcomed the beginning of the trial in the case against Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al Rahman, the former Janjaweed commander facing 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At the heart of the case against Abd-al Rahman is the testimony of dozens of witnesses, many of whom still live in Darfur. Over the last several months, many of these witnesses – many of them are survivors of violence – have traveled thousands of miles to The Hague to tell their stories in their own words. We agree with you, Prosecutor, that the Council must honor these witnesses and these survivors by using our best efforts to ensure their hopes for justice are realized.
The bravery of these individuals to speak to the widespread killing of civilians, the pillaging, the abuse, and destruction of communities in Darfur is inspiring. Of course, there is no shortage of courage in Sudan. Most recently, since the October military takeover, the Sudanese people have taken to the streets themselves to demand a better future in which they can realize their aspirations for democracy and respect for human rights.
In that regard, I would like to underscore my government’s belief that resolving Sudan’s political crisis will require the formation of a civilian-led transitional government that can work to deliver – deliver on the promises of the 2019 revolution.
Unified international efforts are crucial to help facilitate inclusive, Sudanese-led dialogue to restore Sudan’s democratic transition and civilian rule. The United States commends the efforts of UNITAMS, the AU, and IGAD in facilitating dialogue on a way forward toward full civilian rule. We will continue to support UNITAMS in the full implementation of its mandate, including supporting the Juba Peace Agreement.
We continue to be alarmed at the violence in Darfur, which has displaced over 100,000 people. Intercommunal violence threatens social cohesion and diminishes the likelihood of peaceful cohabitation and the sustainability of the peace process. The need for the protection of civilians is urgent, as is inclusive security sector reform, and the establishment of robust international monitoring and reporting mechanisms.
On this note, the United States wishes to congratulate Juba Peace Agreement signatories for the formation and graduation of forces for the Darfuri Joint Security Keeping Force. This is a significant step to improve the protection of civilians.
As detailed in the Prosecutor’s report, Sudanese authorities have facilitated visits by the Prosecutor and his staff and taken other recent steps to provide some assistance to their investigations in Darfur, which is very welcome news. This cooperation must continue, and it must improve.
As Sudanese stakeholders work to find a way forward to address the current crisis, we strongly urge authorities to continue to comply with their international legal obligations pursuant to Resolution 1593 and cooperate with the ICC. Sudanese authorities must continue to permit ICC teams to travel within the country and cooperate with requests for evidence and other information and assistance, including through unimpeded access to key witnesses and to facilitate an enhanced ICC field presence. Those who are subject to arrest warrants by the ICC must face justice and be transferred to face trial.
The United States will continue to stand by the Sudanese people in support of the ICC’s efforts to advance accountability.
Thank you, Mr. President.