UN: ICC prosecutor laments UN Security Council inaction on Darfur atrocities

New York, US (PANA) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda, says the UN Security Council must rethink its approach to the deteriorating crisis in Sudan's Darfur region and fully pursue those individuals deemed responsible for atrocities.

Ms. Bensouda, who briefed the UN Security Council on Friday in New York on the situation of its pending cases on Darfur war crimes, criticized the Council for its lack of action on crimes committed in the war-torn region.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to appear before you and purport to be updating you when all I am doing is repeating the same things I have said over and over again, most of which are well known to this Council," she lamented.

She stated: "To date, none of these individuals have been brought to justice, and some of them continue to be implicated in atrocities committed against innocent civilians in Darfur."

The ICC Prosecutor said that, not only was the situation in Darfur "deteriorating", but the brutality with which crimes were being committed there had become "more pronounced", warning that, "women and girls are continuing to bear the brunt of sustained attacks on innocent civilians".

"Fresh allegations of a mass rape of 200 women in Tabit, located in North Darfur, for instance, have fuelled concerns regarding the overall security situation in the region and the general safety of women and girls in the area," Ms. Bensouda noted.

She said that UNAMID had been denied full access to Tabit, thereby frustrating full and transparent investigations, and argued that, "it is unacceptable that such investigations were conducted in a situation in which perpetrators maintained effective control over their victims."

"Victims of rape are asking themselves how many more women should be brutally attacked for this Council to appreciate the magnitude of their plight. We find ourselves in a stalemate that can only embolden perpetrators to continue their brutality," she stressed.

Ms. Bensouda also pointed out that ICC Judges had already concluded that certain individuals in Sudan be brought to the ICC to answer charges, including Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, for whom a warrant of arrest had been issued.

However, she said, until the Council applied a dramatic shift to its approach to arresting Darfur suspects, it would be increasingly difficult for her and the ICC to continue doing their work.

"Given this Council’s lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases, especially those in which trial is approaching.

"It should thus be clear to this Council that unless there is a change of attitude and approach to Darfur in the near future, there shall continue to be little or nothing to report to you for the foreseeable future," the prosecutor stated.

Ms. Bensouda’s briefing to the Council came amid a worsening security climate and dire humanitarian crisis in the Sudanese region with ramped-up hostilities between government forces and armed movements, deadly inter-communal conflicts and a high increase in criminality and banditry.

According to UN estimates, the number of people displaced by conflict has increased to more than 430,000 since the beginning of the year, with close to 300,000 remaining displaced in addition to the more than two million long-term internally displaced persons.
-0- PANA AA/MA 12Dec2014

12 december 2014 20:06:22




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