Thank you, Madam President.
Switzerland would like to thank the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Karim Khan, for presenting his 38th report on the situation in Darfur. We also welcome the participation of the representative of Sudan at this meeting.
As we meet here today, fighting continues to rage in Sudan, with no sign of de-escalation, and with catastrophic results for the civilian population. Millions of people are displaced, and almost 25 million depend on humanitarian aid. Of particular concern are the numerous allegations of gender-based violence and violence against children mentioned in the report. As the Prosecutor has stressed, “it is the collective obligation of all […] to ensure that where the basic line of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is or risks being crossed, focused and meaningful action is taken to protect the most vulnerable in Darfur." We reiterate our urgent appeal to the parties to cease hostilities immediately and to respect their obligations under human rights and international humanitarian law. In this context, we welcome the Prosecutor's decision to investigate the incidents in the current hostilities, and thank him for the work of his office despite the alarming security situation. It is essential that the international community, and in particular international justice, does not lose sight of the alarming developments in Sudan.
We reiterate our call on the Sudanese authorities and the Rapid Support Forces to fulfill their obligation to cooperate with the Court under Resolution 1593 to enable the Court to carry out its mandate effectively. This includes access to necessary documentation, to witnesses, and to places under their control where the situation allows. We welcome the appointment of a new Focal Point by the Sudanese authorities, as well as the granting of visas for a forthcoming mission. We hope that these important steps will further support the collaboration with the ICC.
We welcome the close collaboration between the Office of the Prosecutor and third countries, as well as with the many Sudanese civil society organizations working to bring justice to the victims. We are grateful to those who continue to risk their lives to document the facts on the ground. In this respect, we welcome the start of work by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Sudan set up by the Human Rights Council.
Switzerland also supports the Court's efforts to digitalize its work, notably through the launch of a digital platform. Taking advantage of new technologies while preserving its integrity will enable the Court to optimize its efficiency. Switzerland is also following the trial of Mr. Ali Abd-Al-Rahman with great interest, and welcomes the speed of the proceedings and the central role accorded to victims and witnesses.
The Prosecutor has just reminded us of what the High Commissioner for Human Rights rightly emphasized last year: yesterday's impunity in Darfur fueled today's cycle of violence. To break this cycle, the perpetrators of serious crimes must be held accountable. Switzerland would like to reaffirm its determination to fight impunity, and its unwavering support for the Court as an independent judicial body charged with investigating the most serious crimes of concern to the entire international community. It represents a beacon of hope for victims, and deserves our full support.