Karim Khan, International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor, said that it was more important now than ever fo his office and the Sudanese authorities to work in unison in order to make progress in the Darfur file, noting that there was “no other option on this matter.”
Khartoum: Sara Taj al-Sir
The ICC Prosecutor stated that the lack of justice for Darfur victims will continue impacting Sudan’s efforts towards achieving stability and rule of law “until there is some form of meaningful accountability.”
Khan, on Monday, had presented the Court’s 34th report on the situation in Darfur before the UN’s Security Council.
The Security Council had first referred the issue of Darfur in 2005 to the ICC in a landmark event that signaled the first time ever the Security Council had referred a case to the one of the Court’s Prosecutors.
Khan said that despite the referral offering hope for accountability on the matter, “that hope has remained, unfortunately, only hope for 17 years.”
The ICC prosecutor noted that some important progress has actually been made on the Darfur issue.
In July 13, 2021, the court had confirmed all 31 charges against Ali Kushayb –the Janjaweed leader responsible for atrocities in Darfur such as murder, rape, and torture to name a few– under the Rome statute.
“Kushayb’s trial is set for April, representing the first ever ICC trial stemming from the Security Council referral, which is a tangible outcome of Resolution 1593,” Khan said.
“Accountability for crimes in Darfur does not stop there as there are four others who have been issued arrest warrants against by the ICC. Three of them are currently detained in Sudan [Omar al-Bashir, Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, Ahmed Haroun]. The fourth, Ahmed Banda, former JEM leader, is still at large,” he added.
The ICC had issued Kushayb’s arrest warrant back in 2007.
Khan revealed that the events that took place on October 25th, and the resulting insecurity and instability in the country had constituted a “setback that poses additional challenges to our work in Sudan.”
The ICC prosecutor pointed out that his office was forced to withhold the deployment of his team into Sudan and to stop all investigations immediately.
“Many of the office’s interlocutors and coordinators no longer hold their positions in the government of Sudan”, he said.
He renewed his calls to the putschist government in Sudan to ensure safe access for his office to documents, crime scenes, and witnesses in Sudan, “without any further delay”.
He welcomed the commitment to cooperate shown by all government officials he had met with during his first visit to Sudan on August 2021, which he believed was manifested through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.