Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing by the International Criminal Court Prosecutor on Sudan (via VTC)

Mark Simonoff
Minister Counselor
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 10, 2020


Thank you, Madam President. And thank you, Madame Prosecutor, for your briefing.

Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are being felt everywhere, we are heartened to see continued positive developments in Sudan over the past few months. The civilian-led transitional government (CLTG), in their discussions with armed opposition, are demonstrating that they are committed to justice for victims of atrocities in the Darfur conflict.

We have been encouraged by concrete steps parties in Sudan have taken to build a more stable, secure, and human rights-respecting future. We commend the civilian-led transitional government for agreeing to justice and accountability measures in the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation protocol negotiated in February 2020 with the Darfur armed opposition, including through the formation of a special court in Darfur to try atrocity crimes. Actions like this, taken to address the decades of violence committed with impunity against Darfuri victims, will increase the prospects for a just and enduring peace across Sudan.

We are encouraged by Prime Minister Hamdok’s Eid speech on May 25, during which he stated that the perpetrators of the June 3, 2019, massacre, when 127 protestors were killed during a sit-in, and other protesters were beaten and sexually assaulted, will be held accountable. Genuine accountability would be a positive step for Sudan and a clear break from the past, and a clear demonstration of its commitment to freedom of peaceful assembly. We urge the Prime Minister and the civilian-led transitional government to honor this commitment. We also call for the National Independent Committee investigating the massacre to conduct a thorough, credible investigation that addresses all the crimes committed on that day and identifies those responsible for the grave crimes that were committed so that they can be brought to justice.

The United States will continue our efforts to deepen diplomatic relations with the new Sudanese government and support ongoing peace negotiations with armed opposition groups. We will continue to encourage them to use a survivor-centered approach during these negotiations, and ensure that the voices of women, youth, and other groups who have borne the brunt of the Bashir regime’s violence are heard, in order to ensure that crimes against the Sudanese people committed under the Bashir regime are not forgotten or ignored.

The United States supports Sudan in its path to upholding democratic values, strengthening an independent justice system, and pursuing legal reform to ensure equality for all, regardless of gender, religion, or ethnicity. We will continue to support Sudanese efforts to ensure justice and encourage open, inclusive national dialogues about how transitional justice mechanisms can facilitate truth, justice, reconciliation and healing.

There are few in Sudan more deserving of facing justice than Omar Al-Bashir. While we are encouraged by his recent conviction in April, we note that the charges narrowly related to financial corruption. We believe more needs to be done.

As we have said for over a decade, there will be no lasting peace in Sudan until there is genuine accountability for all of the crimes that have been committed against the Sudanese people. To date, no one has been held accountable for the estimated 300,000 people killed in Darfur, the rampant sexual violence, or the looting and burning of homes. Those most responsible for the crimes committed in the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas must be held accountable for their actions. We received reports that Ali Kushayb is in custody. Ali Kushayb must be held accountable for his alleged abuses. The people of Darfur, victims, survivors, and their families deserve justice.

We must also ensure that those who oppose Sudan’s efforts to address its painful past have no power to hijack Sudan’s future. We were deeply concerned to learn of the attempted assassination attempt against Prime Minister Hamdok – such attempts undermine the Sudanese people’s hard-fought liberation efforts.

The United States has historically been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of meaningful accountability and justice for victims of atrocities through appropriate mechanisms. Perpetrators of atrocity crimes must face justice, but we must also be careful to recognize the right tool for each situation.

I must reiterate our longstanding and principled objection to any assertion of ICC jurisdiction over nationals of States that are not party to the Rome Statute, absent a UN Security Council referral or the consent of such States. Our concerns regarding the ICC and the situation in Afghanistan are well-known.

Our position on the ICC in no way diminishes the United States’ commitment to supporting accountability for atrocity crimes, violations of international humanitarian law, and gross violations of human rights.

Thank you, Madam President.