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Lack of support

Aug 10,2017 - Last updated at Aug 10,2017

The resignation of veteran war crimes investigator Carla Del Ponte from the UN’s Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria is a serious setback for efforts to bring war criminals to justice.

The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998 was supposed to have ushered in greater accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide, but, alas, the record of the international community on the commissions of such crimes has remained shallow and ineffective.

"I am frustrated, I give up," said Del Ponte when she announced her intention to leave the commission. With these words, the war crime investigator summed up the status of accountability for such heinous crimes that appear to have increased, rather than decreased, with a vengeance over the past years since the creation of the ICC.

She said that the international community had failed to learn lessons from Rwanda. These words are a serious condemnation of the UN Security Council in particular for blocking all efforts to ensure accountability for war crimes committed in Syria.

The UN commission recommended the creation of a special tribunal on Syria, but once again the veto power of Moscow and Beijing prevented any such action. Under these international circumstances, the chances of combating war crimes, crimes against humanity or acts of genocide have effectively been reduced to near zero.

The Security Council has never acted on allegations of war crimes in Syria due to Russia's and China's systematic use of their veto power.

The commission was created in 2011 to bring war criminals in Syria to justice. It has not been able to do so despite the publication of many of its reports no doubt due to lack of support by the Security Council.


Perhaps the resignation of Del Ponte would send a message to the international community that its record on the efforts to hold people accountable for their international crimes is lacking.

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