Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Sudan
Ambassador Harold Agyeman
Ghana Permanent Mission to the United Nations
January 17, 2022, Security Council Chamber
New York City
REPORT OF THE PROSECUTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT ON SUDAN
I thank Mr. Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for briefing the Council on the report on the activities of the Court’s file on Sudan. As a new member of the Council, Ghana would like to take this opportunity to assure the Prosecutor of her full cooperation in the implementation of his mandate, especially as it relates to cooperation with this Council. We wish you, Mr. Prosecutor, success in your new role with the Court and note that this is your second briefing to the Council in your present capacity.
Ghana believes that the Court plays an important role within the global justice and security architecture in helping to maintain international peace. As the sixth State party to join the Rome Statute, we remain committed to the objectives of the Court and the development of a complementary international criminal justice system, which holds accountable perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern, seek justice for victims of atrocity crimes, and, above all, act as a deterrent to perpetrators of the four classes of egregious crimes that the Court has jurisdiction over.
Ghana, therefore, welcomes the Prosecutor’s report on the activities of the Court with regards to the Sudan file and wishes to highlight the following three points:
- First, we reiterate the shared conviction that impunity cannot and must not be allowed to stand wherever it occurs and by whomsoever.
- It is in this respect, that in the case of former Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir and the other individuals facing ICC arrest warrants for their alleged crimes committed in Darfur, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, we reaffirm the position that the accused should be made to face the course of justice and given an opportunity to account for their actions or inactions as it relates to the very serious crimes they have been charged with.
- We recall the Council’s resolution 1593, which requested that “[t]he Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur shall co-operate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court.” In that regard, Ghana calls on Sudan to assist the Office of the Prosecutor with access to documents, archives and other evidence in Sudan. The OTP should also have access to witnesses, including those in custody in Sudan and finally, full and safe access to the territory of Sudan, including crime scenes in Darfur. While taking note of the transitional government of Sudan’s efforts towards the ratification of key human rights treaties, Ghana encourages the transitional government to fully translate its commitment to the rules-based international order and to ending decades of impunity by transferring the ICC’s outstanding fugitives without delay. Ghana welcomes the confirmation of charges in the Kushayb case since it is the first confirmation of charges in a Security Council referral. The voices of the victims continue to cry out for justice and they should not be made to wait any further.
- Secondly, whilst calling on all States that have indicted persons to cooperate with the Court, Ghana believes that the efficiency of the Court lies in effectively implementing the principle of complementarity, which is a core principle of the Rome Statute. In this regard, Ghana reaffirms her call on States Parties to consider the issue of complementarity as a key tool in trying the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court and one of the options in reducing the workload of the Court. After all it is primarily the responsibility of States to protect their citizens. We therefore encourage the Court to work with national judicial systems that may require capacity building, including those on the African continent to take ownership of some of these trials. Certainly, the independence of these national courts should be paramount in the capacity building efforts.
- The third issue of importance to Ghana is witness protection: before, during and after the trial process As the Court proceeds with investigations into the cases in Darfur and other areas of interest, it has been observed that in some instances witnesses have been recanting which adversely impact the case for the prosecution and invariably casts a slur on the Court. In that connection, Ghana calls on the Court to do more in getting the victims involved in the whole process and giving them the needed protection before, during and after the trials. We believe this will give victims the required confidence to testify during trials.
In concluding, I would like to urge the Prosecutor to be encouraged by ‘Lady Justice’, who being blindfolded and holding with suspended scales, looks neither East nor West, but looks towards the evidence to deliver for victims, fair, impartial and equitable justice. Ghana therefore hopes for a balanced and global approach to investigation of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, devoid of the perceived region-centric approach.
I thank you.