Carla Del Ponte Quits UN Syria Inquiry

Former Swiss Attorney General, Carla Del Ponte, shocked many by announcing her resignation from a United Nations commission set up to investigate human rights violations in Syria; claiming that her reasons for quitting stem from the fact that the inquiry “is not backed by any political will.”

The war crimes expert, who has worked as a prosecutor in the tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, has served on the UN inquiry for almost five years since its conception in 2012. It was originally set up to investigate the human rights abuses that occurred during the Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011, and has left over 300,000 people dead and displaced many more. The inquiry had further chronicled chemical weapons attacks, the genocide against Iraq’s Yazidis, and the bombing of aid convoys.

The inquiry is said to have released almost a dozen reports, but investigators seem to have relied heavily on photos, interviews, medical records and other documents, rather than gaining access to Syria itself.

Ms Del Ponte announced that she had already written her letter of resignation in preparation for sending it later this week, before expressing her frustration at the fact the inquiry is “not backed by any political will.”

The veteran prosecutor exposed Syria’s lack of transparency, adding that “everyone in Syria is on the bad side. The [Bashar al-] Assad government has perpetrated horrible crimes against humanity and used chemical weapons. And the opposition is now made up of extremists and terrorists.”

Ms Del Ponte and other members of the commission have demanded the United Nations Security Council refer the environment in Syria to the International Criminal Court, as she says she has never observed such crimes before.

The commission released a statement thanking Ms Del Ponte for her efforts and support, and wishing her well in all her future endeavours as an advocate for justice.

Phoebe Egoroff

Founder and of Jurist International, a website focusing on the latest developments in international human rights and criminal law.