Briefing of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor on the 18th Report of the ICC on the Sudan (11 December 2013)

Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Thank you Mr. President,

We thank Ms. Fatou Bensouda, ICC Chief Prosecutor, for the briefing on her 18th report to the Security Council.

We have heard the statement made by H.E. Elhag Ali Osman, Permanent Representative of Sudan.

Mr. President,

Pakistan is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). But we do recognize the rights and obligations of the State Parties to the ICC.

Mr. President,

During it term as the non-permanent member of the Council, Pakistan has consistently supported a peaceful and viable resolution of the conflict in Darfur through an inclusive political process a process that respects and upholds unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan.

We have noted from the Prosecutor's report that the trial of Abdallah Banda will start on May 5, 2014 and that the defendant will appear voluntarily before the Court.

Mr. President,

It is a mandatory obligation for all states to protect the right to life of their citizens. The Government of the Sudan must therefore continue to take all necessary measures to investigate human rights violations in Darfur and bring violators to justice.

We welcome the steps by the Government of Sudan towards the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), and the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission.

The international community must continue to fight impunity by utilizing a full range of justice and reconciliation mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation commissions, national reparation programmes, and institutional and legal reforms.

The relationship between the ICC and the the Security Council should be managed correctly and skillfully so that the independence of the Court is not compromised.

The Court and the Council should have the necessary space to maintain statutory distance. The utilization of peacemaking mandates for the objectives of the ICC, mentioned in the report, for instance should not blur the distinction between the jurisdictions of the Court and the Council.

Sustainable and viable peace in Darfur can only be realized through a broad-based, multi-pronged approach. Our efforts should provide impetus to an inclusive political dialogue; prevent attempts to derail the political process through a policy of incentives and deterrence; promote justice and reconciliation; create a conducive security environment; and address the human rights and humanitarian aspects of the conflict in Darfur.

We agree with the the Prosecutor that regional and sub-regional organizations and arrangements contribute to accountability. This is best done by enhancing the capacity of national justice systems.

In this regard, we support the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union, particularly its High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), towards achieving peace, stability, justice and reconciliation in Darfur. In addition, the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should be closely associated with these efforts.

Mr. President,

Overall, the security and political situation in Darfur shows a mixed record of progress and setbacks.

We welcome the initial steps taken by the signatories of the Doha Document towards the implementation of the Darfur Development Strategy and the work undertaken by the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in developing various projects.

It must be ensured that these projects make a tangible impact on the lives of ordinary people in Darfur. It is equally important that all pledges made at the Doha Donor conferences are fulfilled at the earliest. Simultaneous progress on both these tracks will strengthen the prospects of peace in Darfur.

The Council should continue to encourage the engagement of the Joint Chief Mediator with the non-signatory armed opposition groups. Incidents similar to to the killing of Muhammad Bashar should not be repeated. Similarly, the Council should send a strong political message to prevent the armed groups outside Darfur from further destabilizing the region.

Recently, inter-tribal clashes over natural resources have become a major security challenge in Darfur. We urge the Government of Sudan to intensify its efforts to address the deep-rooted causes of conflict and friction in the region. Progress on all provisions of DDPD, particularly those related to land and property, will help improve the situation.

The international community will have to take bold decisions to provide economic relief to Sudan to ease fierce competition over resources. An essential first step is to lift the debilitating bilateral sanctions against Sudan that adversely impact ordinary people and indirectly fuel disputes over resources.

Mr. President,

The people from the Darfur region have faced a long conflict that has cast its shadow over the lives of an entire generation. This conflict should not go for ever. We must help the people of Darfur reconcile their quest for peace and justice with the goal of a lasting political solution.

I thank you Mr. President.