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Del Ponte criticises UN, Swiss attorney general

War crimes expert Carla del Ponte is disappointed by the United Nations. Keystone

Swiss prosecutor Carla del Ponte gave a scathing critique of the United Nations in an interview published on Sunday. She also took aim at Switzerland’s attorney general, Michael Lauber.

This content was published on November 18, 2018 - 11:35

“The United Nations is a great disappointment for me,” Del Ponte told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, stressing the need to reorganise the international body. "There is a lot of talk and there are too many officials, really too many. Only a few really work".

Del Ponte, who worked on the UN commission of inquiry on Syria, painted a bleak picture of what has been achieved in terms of international justice.

"We have fallen very low, human rights no longer apply," she says. "We must believe that an independent international tribunal can do justice.”

As a former attorney general of Switzerland, Del Ponte spared no criticism of Lauber, who assumed the role in January 2012 and is now in his second term.

“Would you be able to tell me what the current attorney general is doing? No, that’s right. He doesn’t exist,” said the 71-year-old native of Ticino.

"I think a federal prosecutor must be transparent and able to cope with criticism," she added, pointing out that a prosecutor without enemies is not doing a good job. "With me, we knew exactly what I was doing.”

In 1999, Del Ponte became the prosecutor general at the International Criminal Tributnal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

In 2012, she traveled to Syria as a United Nations special investigator. Five years later the war crimes expert resigned to protest inaction on Syria at the United Nations Security Council. She has described the war crimes committed in Syria since 2011 as the worst she has ever seen.

Del Ponte told the German-language newspaper she plans to disappear from public life after December 5, when she will be presenting her book, 'In the name of the victims – the failure of the UN and of international politics in Syria,' during an event in the northern city of Aarau.

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