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Statement on the situation in Darfur, Sudan

Statement by Representative of Slovenia to the UN Security Council Ambassador Samuel Žbogar at the briefing by International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan on the situation in Darfur, Sudan

Madame President,

I also would like to thank Prosecutor Khan for his very sobering briefing today on the situation in Darfur. Slovenia reaffirms our continuous strong support for the ICC and the work of the Office of the Prosecutor.

We also want to welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Sudan in today’s meeting.

Madame President,

The increasing violence in Sudan is deeply troubling, particularly its effects on civilians in Darfur and across the nation. We are alarmed by the Prosecutor’s statement that we are reaching a breaking point as well as about increasing pressures on Sudan’s neighbors, especially Chad. The urgent need for the hostilities to cease cannot be overstated. We call on all involved in the conflict to silence their guns and prioritize protecting the lives of the Sudanese people.

Upholding international law and protecting civilians is not an option but a legal obligation and a moral imperative. We are deeply concerned about the reports of continued violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including systematic and widespread use of different forms of sexual and gender-based violence in Darfur and in other areas of Sudan.

We commend Prosecutor’s efforts in accelerating investigation of these crimes committed in Darfur and his decision to prioritize the investigations of crimes of sexual and gender-based violence.

We note that the current hostilities in Sudan present a significant challenge to the Prosecutor’s work. Civil society organizations, affected communities, women’s organizations, victims and survivors are an important source of evidence and can provide valuable testimonies of the crimes committed. We therefore welcome Prosecutor’s engagement in this regard and urge third parties and international partners to continue their timely cooperation with the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office.

Evidence collection efforts by the Office of the Prosecutor including by deployment of investigative teams on the ground are essential and we call on all sides to ensure access and the safety of these teams. We note the appointment of the new cooperation focal point by the Government of Sudan and call on the Sudanese authorities to fully cooperate with the Office of the Prosecutor. Locating the fugitives and executing in a timely manner arrest warrants as well as requests for assistance are not a matter of choice, but a legal duty to be fulfilled.

Madame President,

We welcome the progress made in the trial of Ali Abd-Al-Rahman. This landmark trial is a signal to the people of Sudan that our commitment to fighting impunity for the most serious crimes is not an empty promise. It is a beacon of hope for the survivors who were given a voice and a power to seek justice. Their testimonies showed incredible courage.

Madame President, 

In March 2005, Security Council deemed the situation in Sudan as a threat to international peace and security. We regret that after almost 20 years it continues to be so. Climate of impunity emboldens perpetrators of international crimes. Justice, accountability and protection of human rights are crucial to ending the cycle of violence and suffering and preventing further crimes. There is no peace without justice.

Thank you.

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