In his final briefing to the ambassadors, Fatou Bensouda stressed that the Court is the only institution that has promised hope to the victims of the brutal conflict in the Sudanese province.
“When this Council reported the situation in Darfur to the ICC in March 2005, it brought hope to the victims of heinous crimes in Darfur by sending a clear message that justice was not only important in itself, but also with a multiplier effect in achieving for a sustainable peace in Darfur, ”he said.
The ICC’s investigations focus on allegations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the fighting that began two years earlier between government forces, backed by the allied militia known as janjaweed, and rebel movements in Darfur.
Five arrest warrants have been issued, including against President Omar Al-Bashir who was deposed in 2019 after 30 years in power.
Alleged former Janjaweed commander Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as “Ali Kushayb,” voluntarily surrendered to the ICC in June 2020 and his confirmation of the allegations was withheld last month.
“A new page”
Sudan is moving along a path of political and economic transition and last October the authorities and two armed groups in Darfur signed a historic peace agreement.
Ms. Bensouda recently led the ICC’s first mission to the country and reported that the court and the government “have turned a new page in their report”.
Citing a new era of dialogue and cooperation, he added that investigators are preparing to travel to Darfur soon.
While the visit rekindled hope, enthusiasm could easily be dampened “through our inaction or timid and ineffective action,” he warned.
Suspicions of handover
“The clear and coherent message I have received from the Darfur victims in El Fasher, Nyala and Zalingei is that the four pending warrants must be carried out and that the suspects must be turned over to the ICC,” he said, a message he also stressed. to officials during his visit.
The prosecutor placed particular emphasis on the urgent need to transfer Ahmad Harun, a former minister of state, to the court.
“Almost all suspects are in the custody of the Sudanese government and there is no legal impediment to their surrender to the ICC,” he said.
In particular, credible reports and other information indicate that Mr. Harun has expressed a desire to be transferred to the ICC. I appeal to this Council to convince Sudan to honor Harun’s wish immediately and to facilitate his transfer to the International Criminal Court without delay ”.
“One of the proudest moments of humanity”
Ms Bensouda hailed the people of Darfur for their courage, perseverance and relentless faith in the course of justice, and their support of the International Criminal Court, stating that it was the only institution that promised hope to them and other victims .
In conclusion, he stressed the importance of the Court for the international community.
“I have often said that the creation of the ICC must surely be one of humanity’s proudest moments,” he said.
“It is, because it represents an awakening rooted in great human suffering over the centuries, culminating in the recognition that lawless wars and conflicts no longer need to be given a pass to cause human carnage.”