Fatou Bensouda, outgoing Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the Security Council on Wednesday to ensure the international community stay focused on achieving justice and peace for the people of Darfur, Sudan.
“When this Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC in March 2005, it brought hope to victims of atrocity crimes in Darfur by sending a clear message that justice was not only important in its own right but also with a multiplier effect in achieving sustainable peace in Darfur”, Bensouda said in her final speech.
The ICC investigations centre around allegations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity of years long conflict between Darfur rebels and the Khartoum government forces backed by allied militia known as janjaweed, and Darfur rebel movements that killed more than 300,000 people and displaced 2 million more.
Alleged former janjaweed commander Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as “Ali Kushayb”, voluntarily surrendered himself to the ICC in June 2020.
Five arrest warrants were issued, including that of President Omar Al-Bashir who was overthrown in 2019 after 30 years in power.
“The clear and consistent message I received from Darfur victims in El Fasher, Nyala and Zalingei is that the four outstanding warrants must be executed and that suspects must be handed over to the ICC”, she said.
“Almost all the suspects are in the custody of the Government of Sudan and there is no legal impediment to their surrender to ICC”, she said.
“In particular, credible reports and other information, indicate that Mr. Harun has expressed his wish to be transferred to the ICC. I appeal to this Council to prevail upon Sudan to immediately honour Mr Harun’s wish and facilitate his transfer to the ICC without delay,” the outgoing prosecutor added.
“I often state that the creation of the ICC must surely be one of humanity’s proudest moments,” she said highlighting the Court’s importance to the international community.
“It is, because it represents an awakening rooted in great human suffering throughout the ages, culminating in the recognition that lawless wars and conflict must no longer receive a pass to cause human carnage,” Bensouda added.