Statement delivered by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing on the activity of International Criminal Court concerning the situation in Sudan and South Sudan—
I would like to thank the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, for the 25th report of the ICC on the situation in Darfur as well as her briefing today.
Yesterday in this Chamber we discussed about the completion strategy for the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. Italy stressed the fact that the closing of those tribunals does not mean the end of the fight against impunity.
Today, with specific reference to the referral of the situation in Darfur to the ICC, let me say that we have a collective responsibility to ensure coherence with the requests that the Council has made to the International Criminal Court.
Twelve years ago the Council decided to refer this situation to the Court. The Court has started to do its part. This is something which the Council requested the Court to do: examining a situation, investigating crimes that were committed, initiate proceedings. However, we have been faced with a situation of prolonged stalemate which is not satisfactory and is linked to lack of cooperation. This is not new for international criminal justice. Cooperation with the Court is essential. It is an obligation under resolution 1593 (2005), it is an obligation under the ICC Statute. Moreover, cooperation is a measure of commitment to the fight against impunity that can also be extended voluntarily, even when an obligation stricto sensu does not exist. It would be simply coherent with the demand for justice for international crimes that this Council has made and with the commitment of the Council to establish accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. There is no good reason why perpetrators of these offences should not be brought to justice.
In this specific situation, however, legal obligations are rather clear and derive from a resolution adopted by the Council under Chapter VII of the Charter; fulfillment of these obligations is required for justice to be made. There can be divergences as to the scope of these obligations and there can be discussions as to the modalities and the mechanisms for cooperation to occur, but specific processes must be set in place. The Council should find ways to engage with these issues and address differences, identify possible solutions, infuse and support the necessary political will.
For justice to be able to display its preventive role, the accountability dimension must be fully integrated in our engagement strategies, including in dialogue with situation countries. If we allow perpetrators to believe that crimes can continue to be committed with impunity, not only we are betraying justice as a principle, but on a more pragmatic level we are depriving ourselves of a fundamental tool in preventing conflict and put an end to the perpetration of atrocities.
Finally, there is no doubt that justice requires a strong element of national ownership. States have the primary responsibility to ensure that justice is done for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. There can be discussions on how to organize any interaction between the international community and national authorities, but there is no doubt that domestic systems must be engaged in the process. This engagement requires political will and a shared commitment to ensure justice for victims of international crimes.
The security situation in Darfur has been improving in the last year. The recent UN-AU Joint Strategic Review of UNAMID states it clearly and calls on this Council to update its deliberation on the matter.
We have no doubt about the Sudan’s political will to cooperate for preventing illicit flows, including human trafficking that connects Darfur to Libya, and countering terrorism.
Despite these remarkable improvements, the root causes of the Darfuri instability keep relying on that persistent sense of impunity which stems from the violations of human rights, the serious humanitarian condition of IDPs, and the moral wounds of the past to be healed yet. As long as these factors are not reconciled, peace in Darfur will remain fragile.
As far as the Council is concerned, as we said a number of times, we need a stronger and broader collective engagement with international criminal justice issues. The Council must find ways to be united in the fight against impunity; to do so it should give itself more opportunities, particularly in informal settings, to discuss these issues and deepen its engagement with all actors involved, including the States concerned and the International Criminal Court.