Carla del Ponte, member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said on Sunday she was quitting due to lack of political backing from the UN Security Council to the panel’s investigation into human rights violations and war crimes being committed in Syria.
“I am quitting this commission, which is not backed by any political will,” Del Ponte 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,” Swiss national news agency SDA quoted Del Ponte as saying.
In 2015, Del Ponte said justice would catch up with Bashar al-Assad even if he remained in power under a negotiated peace settlement.
Earlier this year, when the commission reported on the Assad’s air force 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.”
Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general, joined the three-member Syria inquiry in September 2012, chronicling incidents such as chemical weapons attacks, siege tactics, and the bombing of aid convoys.
The UN commission of inquiry said in a statement that Del Ponte, 70, 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,” the commission said.
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 been ignored.
Del Ponte’s departure leaves only two commissioners, Brazil’s Paulo Pinheiro and Karen Koning AbuZayd from the United States. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media department + Agencies)