Carla Del Ponte, the former prominent war-crimes prosecutor, resigned from the United Nations commission investigating human rights violations in Syria, saying it “does absolutely nothing.”
“I am frustrated, I give up,” Del Ponte told the Swiss newspaper Blick in an interview published on August 6.
“I am quitting this commission, which is not backed by any political will,” she said, adding that her role was just an “alibi”.
“The states in the Security Council don’t want justice,” Del Ponte said. “I can’t any longer be part of this commission which simply doesn’t do anything.”
Del Ponte, who has served on the commission for five years, criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as the opposition fighting his rule in the six-year civil war.
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.
Del Ponte served as prosecutor for the international war-crimes tribunals that investigated atrocities in Rwanda and Yugoslavia.
She said the crimes in Syria are worse than she had ever seen in Rwanda or Yugoslavia, and she criticized the Security Council for failing to appoint a war-crimes panel for the Syrian war.
Figures released on July 16 by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, show that the six-year civil war in the country has killed more than 330,000 people, including 99,617 civilians.
The United States and Turkey support various rebel groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia and Iran.
The U.N. Commission of Inquiry said in a statement that del Ponte had informed colleagues in June of her decision to leave in the near future. It said the investigations would continue.
“It is our obligation to persist in its work on behalf of the countless number of Syrian victims of the worst human rights violations and international crimes known to humanity,” it said.
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.
Her departure leaves only two commissioners, Brazil’s Paulo Pinheiro and Karen Koning AbuZayd from the United States.