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Official speeches and statements - June 10, 2021

Published on June 10, 2021

1. Liberia - Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (June 10 and 11) - Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - June 10, 2021)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting Liberia from June 10 to 11. This is the first visit by a French foreign minister to Liberia in more than 40 years.

The minister will be received by President George Weah and will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah. These meetings will provide an opportunity to discuss the strengthening of French-Liberian relations, notably with respect to development, the economy, security and French language and culture. The minister will also discuss regional issues with his interlocutors, as well as the role Liberia can play, notably within ECOWAS and the African Union.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will inaugurate the new Alliance Française de Monrovia site, which reflects the strengthening of relations between Liberia and the French-speaking world. He will meet with young Liberians who are benefiting from French Development projects aimed at facilitating their entry into the labor market, as well as pupils and students who are learning French. Lastly, the minister will discuss with French companies based in Liberia prospects for strengthening French-Liberian economic relations.

2. Bosnia-Herzegovina - International criminal justice/conviction of Ratko Mladic - Statement by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - June 9, 2021)

I welcome the decision taken by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals to sentence Ratko Mladić definitively to life imprisonment for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995).

This decision confirms Ratko Mladić’s responsibility in the Srebrenica genocide, which remains etched in our memories as the worst massacre Europe experienced since the end of the Second World War, in the conflict which killed more than 100,000 and created over 2 million displaced people and refugees.

This conviction will not bring back the thousands who died or erase the suffering of the victims, but it is a milestone for justice and the fight against impunity in the Western Balkans, as well as for international criminal justice as a whole. The facts definitively established in this judgment must be unanimously accepted and serve as a basis for reconciliation.

France is a staunch supporter of international criminal justice and is committed to the fight against impunity throughout the world.

3. United Nations - Briefing by the Prosecutor of the international criminal Court on the situation in Darfur pursuant to resolution 1593 (2005) - Statement by Ms. Diarra Dime-Labille, legal advisor of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - June 9, 2021)

[ translation from French ]

Mr. President,

I too would like to thank Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for her report and her briefing. I welcome the presence of Sudan at this meeting. The mission given by this Council to the International Criminal Court in Darfur is all the more essential in this transition period in Sudan. Building a lasting and inclusive peace in the region will not be possible without justice. The fight against impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes is part of the reestablishment of democratic life and reconciliation in Sudan.

The Prosecutor’s recent visit to Darfur, following her trip to Khartoum last October, is historic and demonstrates the cooperation between the Court and the Sudanese authorities.

The report details concrete progress in the case against Mr. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, or Ali Kushayb, both in The Hague, where the confirmation of charges hearing was held from May 24 to 26, 2021, and on the ground. In this regard, France welcomes the commitment of the Sudanese authorities to provide the Office of the Prosecutor with the necessary assistance to continue the investigative missions. In particular, ensuring access to Darfur for investigators must be granted swiftly and freely in satisfactory security conditions.

This cooperation with the Office must be consolidated and extended to all suspects. France calls on Sudan to swiftly hand over Mr. Ahmed Harun to the Court, so that a connection can eventually be established with the case against Mr. Abd-Al-Rahman.

Beyond that, while complementarity remains a cardinal principle, the execution of outstanding arrest warrants is crucial. Dialogue between the Court and the Sudanese authorities must therefore intensify so that all possibilities offered by the Rome Statute can be considered. We also urge Mr. Banda to surrender immediately to the Court so that he can be tried.

Mr. President,

In Darfur, the recurrence of large-scale inter-communal violence and the persistence of clashes on the ground confirm the fragility of the security situation. This violence has claimed hundreds of lives and forced several hundred thousands of civilians to flee in recent months. France condemns in the strongest terms the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including gender-based and sexual violence against women and girls. It is important that the perpetrators of these crimes do not enjoy impunity.

France recalls the importance of the return of the Sudanese administration to Darfur and welcomes the political will of the authorities in this regard. We call on the government to accelerate the implementation of the Juba agreements, with the support of UNITAMS, and to deploy as soon as possible the joint protection force provided for in these agreements. The protection of civilians, including humanitarian personnel, and guaranteeing safe and unhindered humanitarian access must remain priorities. The National Human Rights Commission must be allowed to fulfill its mandate. The National Commission for Transitional Justice, provided for in the Juba agreements, must be set up without delay.

Finally, we call on all parties to join the peace process.

Mr. President,

Allow me to conclude by commending, on behalf of France, Fatou Bensouda for her determination, courage and unfailing commitment over the past nine years. The mission entrusted to her was perilous, and the obstacles numerous. Her contribution to victims, justice and peace is invaluable.

France will continue to provide the same unwavering support to the Court and the next Prosecutor, Mr. Karim Khan.

Thank you.