Emily Ross, an intern at the New York office of the United Nations Foundation, sent us the following summary of the United States presidency of the Security Council during the month of June.
As President, the United States had the ability to chart the Council’s course, determining which issues to highlight and shaping policy formulation. Perhaps most significant was its decision to bring peripheral security issues to the forefront. The highlight of the month was undoubtedly the open debate on “Women and peace and security,” chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which drew international attention to the plight of women in conflict. Several Foreign Ministers spoke out against sexual abuse and explicitly drew the link between gender-based violence and international security. This landmark affirmation was bolstered by substantial legal weight with the passage of Resolution 1820 declaring rape a war crime.
Consistent with a mostly African-facing agenda, the Council issued a Presidential Statement on Sudan. Following a briefing by the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Louis Moreno-Ocampo, the Council presented a document requesting the Government of Sudan “cooperate fully with the Court…in order to put an end to impunity for the crimes committed in Darfur.” Although watered down due to apprehension from Libya, this statement put into question the United States government’s traditional anti-ICC stance, possibly indicating a warming toward the court.
In addition to the month’s highlights, the United States led the Council as it discussed Iraq, condemned the political violence in Zimbabwe, was briefed on the peace process in Darfur and extended the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus, among other activities. It used its position to put less publicized security matters in the spotlight; The passage of Resolution 1820 and statement to Sudan on the ICC chief among them.