ICC Prosecutor states that the world is facing a difficult and unavoidable reality in Darfur.
Attorney Karim Khan highlighted the “unpleasant and inescapable reality” that choosing to not take action at this moment not only reflects poorly on our current situation, but will also burden future generations with a similar outcome.
He cautioned against the idea of “play, rewind, and repeat.”
After closely examining the evidence, his office determined that there are indications that both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), along with associated groups, are committing serious offenses under the Rome Statute, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
The speaker emphasized the need for increased efforts and urged Sudan to follow Security Council resolutions in good faith. They also called for cooperation and the provision of requested information to their office, as well as allowing investigators into the country.
Referral to the ICC
In March 2005, the Security Council directed the ICC Prosecutor to look into accusations of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
During that period, the area was caught up in a violent conflict between the government, the Janjaweed militia, and rebel factions. This led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and forced millions to flee their homes in a campaign that targeted non-Arab individuals for ethnic cleansing.
Last July, Mr. Khan declared a probe into new claims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur amidst the ongoing conflict between SAF and RSF troops and their associated factions.
The situation is dire, regardless of which metric is used to measure it.
Communicating with ambassadors through a video connection from N’Djamena, the principal city of Chad, Mr. Khan referred to the state of affairs as “extremely serious in terms of any measurement.”
Since April 2023, more than 7.1 million civilians in Sudan have been displaced due to the conflict. Additionally, 1.5 million have been forced to flee to neighboring countries.
Chad, in particular, hosts more than 540,000 Sudanese refugees, a number expected to rise to 910,000 by the end of 2024.
“According to Mr. Khan, one out of every three individuals in the impacted regions of Chad are refugees. Their arrival is surpassing the capacity of Chad and the United Nations to address their needs. Many of these refugees are displaying signs of severe injuries and emotional distress.”
The refugees themselves have given disturbing accounts of sexual violence against women and girls from Darfur, brutal murders, and crimes motivated by race.
The concept of a system of rules and regulations that applies equally to all members of a society is deteriorating.
Mr. Khan cautioned diplomats about the worsening situation in Darfur, where the conflict is affecting large areas of the continent from Libya in the north to Sub-Saharan Africa, and from Sudan’s Red Sea coast to the Atlantic Ocean.
He stated that there are multiple areas where conflicts appear to be prevailing over the rule of law and silencing the voices of the most vulnerable individuals.
Emphasizing that the issue cannot be resolved solely through legal orders and court rulings, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court called on the global community to come up with creative measures to tackle the crisis in Darfur and halt the escalation of violence.
Mr. Khan reminded Council members to remember the personal experiences of individuals affected by violent crimes and warfare, rather than just focusing on statistical data.
The speaker expressed that these people have experienced great hardships and have their own tragic tales. He stressed the shared duty of the Security Council, United Nations, Member States, regional organizations, and the ICC to fulfill the promises they have repeatedly made.