Mister President,

Switzerland would like to thank the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, for his detailed briefing on the situation in Darfur, and welcomes the participation of the representative of Sudan in this meeting.

In a few days' time, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which marked a crucial milestone in the international community's commitment to the fight against impunity. By referring the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, this Council highlighted the intrinsic link between justice and sustainable peace. What was reaffirmed 25 years ago is still valid today: there can be no peace without justice.

With this conviction in mind, I would like to highlight three points:

Firstly, we express our grave concern about the escalation of the conflict and the worsening humanitarian situation in Sudan, including Darfur. Switzerland condemns the violations of international humanitarian law that may have been committed there. We are particularly concerned by the allegations of sexual and gender-based crimes, including those of mass rape and violence against children mentioned in the Prosecutor's report. In this respect, his decision to investigate incidents in the context of the current hostilities is an important contribution to the fight against impunity.

Secondly, we welcome the progress made by the Prosecutor since the presentation of his last report, despite this difficult context. Switzerland is closely following developments in the trial of Mr Ali Abd-Al-Rahman and welcomes the speed of the proceedings as well as the central role given to victims and witnesses. Their voices must be heard. We also welcome the increased interaction with civil society organisations and affected communities, both inside and outside Sudan.

Thirdly, we would like to stress the importance of full cooperation with the International Criminal Court. We reiterate our call on the Sudanese authorities and all parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligation to cooperate with the Court under Resolution 1593. Switzerland welcomes the close cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and third countries. It calls on all States to redouble their efforts to ensure that the victims in Darfur receive the justice they so long for. 

Mister President,

At a time when the situation in Sudan is deteriorating daily, the need for justice is central and requires renewed commitment and attention from everyone, including this Council. Switzerland would like to reaffirm its determination to fight impunity and its unconditional support for the Court as an independent judicial body responsible for investigating the most serious crimes of concern to the entire international community. It is a beacon of hope and deserves our full support. As the report says, this time, the law should provide protection to those who need it most.

Allow me to conclude with the words of a Sudanese victims' representative: “We have been waiting for a long time to see perpetrators stand in court. We are following the progress of the Abd-Al-Rahman trial closely and trust that justice will be delivered.” 

I thank you for your attention.

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