Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on the International Criminal Court and the situation in Sudan, 19 June 2019

Mr President,

At the outset allow me thank the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms Fatou Bensouda, for her comprehensive briefing on the situation in Sudan.

South Africa continues to support resolution 1593 (2005), which refers to the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002, mandating the ICC to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity.

South Africa is deeply concerned about the continuing violence and loss of life in Darfur as indicated by the Prosecutor in her report. South Africa deplores the fact that violence has been directed in particular at civilians.

While we note the significant progress achieved in the peace keeping and peace-building efforts in Darfur, South Africa is concerned with the security challenges that persist and human rights violations as highlighted in the Special Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the strategic review of UNAMID.

What is of particular concern is that women and children remain the most vulnerable and affected by sexual violence which continues to be a weapon of war in Darfur.

South Africa calls on the military and security forces to ensure the full protection of civilians and respect for human rights and freedoms in Darfur.

In this regard, in line with the AUPSC Communiqué of 13 June and the Press Statement by the African countries represented on this Council of 3 June 2019, we strongly condemn and lament the tragic and unjustified loss of life and remind the transitional authorities in Sudan of its obligation to protect civilians and respect their fundamental rights.

We urge the Transitional Military Council to return to the internal dialogue with the aim of responding swiftly and effectively to the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people.

Furthermore, we call on the TMC to return to the framework established by the African Union. We underline the primacy of African-led initiatives in search of a lasting solution to the crisis in Sudan. It is important that the Sudanese people chart their own path of peace, devoid of interference.  This is also vital to ensure that the substantial progress in peace building achieved in Darfur is not reversed.

South Africa urges all stakeholders in Sudan to engage in constructive dialogue in order to restore peace and stability in the country.  This is also vital for regional stability.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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