An outgoing member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria slammed international inaction over war crimes in the country, before directly telling Syria’s ambassador his government had used chemical weapons, in a farewell speech in Geneva this week.
Veteran prosecutor Carla del Ponte stated that she had resigned “to put an end to my frustration”.
Speaking after the Commission of Inquiry presented its latest report, Ms Del Ponte told the council “We could not obtain from the international community and the Security Council a resolution putting in place a tribunal, an ad hoc tribunal for all the crimes that are committed in Syria”.
"Seven years of crimes in Syria and total impunity. That is not acceptable".
During her speech she went on to directly address Syria’s ambassador Hussam Edin Aala over his government’s reported use of chemical weapons. “It was me, mister ambassador,” she said. “I said that in my opinion and based on the elements we already had, the Syrian government was responsible. Today we have the confirmation after an official commission’s inquiry. So now, we ask for justice, we ask justice for those victims.”
Paulo Pinheiro, chairperson on the Commission of Inquiry, said earlier that “after six years of war, during which we have published more than 20 reports, we are concerned that Member States have done so little to hold perpetrators accountable”.
“The deadlock at the Security Council on Syria is reprehensible and, at times, bewildering,” he continued.
“Member States cannot deny that they were aware of what occurred in Syria. Justice will one day come, and a great many will have to answer to history as to why they did not act sooner to stop the carnage.”