Global Policy Forum

The ICC and Sudan - Statement by Gerard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to UN


By Gerard Araud

December 08, 2009

I thank Mr. Moreno-Ocampo for his biannual report in implementation of resolution 1593 (2005). Like previous reports, this report confirms the lack of cooperation on the part of the Government of the Sudan with the International Criminal Court (ICC): arrest warrants have not been executed, the Court's jurisdiction is not acknowledged, the authority of the Security Council and its resolution 1593 (2005) are being questioned, and no national judicial procedure has been undertaken.

In 2005, when we adopted resolution 1593 (2005), despite differences among us regarding the Court, the Council showed its will to not tolerate that the terrible crimes committed in Darfur go unpunished. The resolution was triggered by the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry, which we had requested to investigate the situation in Darfur and which had confirmed the commission of mass violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and the existence of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

France supported the adoption of the resolution, because it considered that transferring the case to the ICC was the best way to ensure that the perpetrators of the crimes would be judged impartially and in an efficient manner, and to send a strong message, beyond Darfur even, about the Security Council's determination to combat impunity for the most serious crimes against the human conscience.

In the days prior to the adoption of resolution 1593 (2005), the Security Council had successively adopted resolution 1590 (2005) in order to help the African Union with its surveillance and protection mechanism and resolution 1591 (2005) in order to bring the conflict to an end. Resolution 1593 (2005) was aimed at ending impunity and was therefore part of a wider-ranging and coherent policy aimed at re establishing peace and security in Darfur. The action of the Court and the Security Council have been complementary, therefore, although independent. France is convinced that there is no contradiction between justice and peace, and that combating impunity is one of the conditions of lasting peace.

It is true that political timing and judicial timing do not always coincide. The needs presented by a peace process can at times differ from the requirements of judicial process. That explains the presence in the Rome Statute of a mechanism that allows the Security Council to suspend investigations or proceedings undertaken by the ICC for a year. This mechanism, whose effects are temporary by definition, can only be used when the interests of peace and security absolutely requires such use. Its purpose can never be to permit impunity for crimes before the Court. It is clear that requirements for invoking this mechanism have not been met in the case of Darfur.

Whatever the case, it is not up to the Security Council to intervene in the independent judicial decision-making by the ICC and its Prosecutor. However, it should demand that everyone respect a resolution adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter that imposes on the Government of the Sudan and all other parties to the Darfur conflict full cooperation with the ICC and its Prosecutor and to provide all necessary assistance, and which firmly demands that all States and regional and international organizations concerned cooperate fully.

I note the positive indications provided by Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo on cooperation with the Arab League, the African Union and the Government of Qatar. I also note the recognition that he has expressed here for the assistance provided by some countries in the investigation on the attack against Haskanita, which led to a first hearing in October.

I would like to reiterate that France believes firmly both in the authority of the Security Council, as the main United Nations body for maintaining peace and security, and in that of the International Criminal Court, as the judicial body responsible for punishing the most serious crimes in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights, to which the Council has entrusted the mission of prosecuting the atrocities committed in Darfur.

Everything should be done to bring about an urgent settlement to the conflict in Darfur and facilitate mediation efforts. Fighting impunity is a prerequisite that will contribute to restoring lasting peace and stability in the region.


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