Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Despite economic blockade and corruption scandals, Qatar prepares for its 2022 World Cup

Read more

ENCORE!

Beatmaker & singer Estère brings her musical melting pot to Afropunk Paris

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Iran water shortages, street art in Yemen, and more

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Maltese foreign minister: ‘We need to implement legal paths of migration into Europe’

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

FIFA takes home revenue of over €5 billion from World Cup

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Les Bleus 2018: The new 'tsars' of world football

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Eurogroup chief Centeno: ‘We need to an end what seems to be a trade war’

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump rocks the boat in UK

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

World Cup Grand finale, Donald Trump blindsides Theresa May, Erdogan's family business

Read more

Middle East

UN Syria investigator quits over lack of 'political will'

© Fabrice Coffrini / AFP | Former UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte during a press conference in Geneva on August 27, 2014.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-08-07

A member of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria said on Sunday she was quitting because a lack of political backing from the U.N. Security Council had made the job impossible, Swiss national news agency SDA reported.

Carla del Ponte, 70, who prosecuted war crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia, told a panel discussion on the sidelines of the Locarno Film Festival that she had already prepared her letter of resignation.

"I am quitting this commission, which is not backed by any political will," she said, adding that her role was just an "alibi".

"I have no power as long as the Security Council does nothing," she said. "We are powerless, there is no justice for Syria."

Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general, joined the three-member Syria inquiry in September 2012, chronicling incidents such as chemical weapons attacks, a genocide against Iraq's Yazidi population, siege tactics, and the bombing of aid convoys.

She could not immediately be reached for comment and the United Nations did not immediately confirm her plans to quit.

Her departure will leave only two commissioners, Brazilian human rights expert Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, and Karen Koning AbuZayd from the United States.

The commission was set up in August 2011 and has regularly reported on human rights violations, but its pleas to observe international law have largely fallen on deaf ears.

Although the United Nations is setting up a new body to prepare prosecutions, there is no sign of any court being established to try war crimes committed in the six-and-a-half year-old war, nor of any intention by the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Del Ponte's determination to be independent made her outspoken and occasionally controversial. She shocked Western governments in May 2013 by declaring that the United Nations had "strong suspicions" of Syrian rebels using sarin gas.

Two years later, she said justice would catch up with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even if he remained in power under a negotiated peace settlement.

Earlier this year, when the commission reported on Syrian government aircraft deliberately bombing and strafing a humanitarian convoy, del Ponte hinted at her frustration with the inability to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"What we have seen here in Syria, I never saw that in Rwanda, or in former Yugoslavia, in the Balkans. It is really a big tragedy," she added. "Unfortunately we have no tribunal."

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-08-07

  • SYRIA

    Syria army ‘takes last IS-group held town in Homs’

    Read more

  • Syria

    US ends CIA programme arming anti-Assad Syria rebels

    Read more

  • Syria

    Hezbollah and Syrian army advance in border offensive

    Read more

COMMENT(S)