Carla Del Ponte
|Occupation||former Chief Prosecutor of two United Nations international criminal law tribunals|
Carla Del Ponte (born February 9, 1947) is a former Chief Prosecutor of two United Nations international criminal law tribunals. A former Swiss attorney general, she was appointed prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in August 1999, replacing Louise Arbour.
In 2003, the U.N. Security Council removed Del Ponte as the Prosecutor for the ICTR, and replaced her there with Hassan Bubacar Jallow following pressure from Rwanda's president Kagame who was obstructing her efforts to investigate crimes by Tutsi.   She remained the Prosecutor for the ICTY until 1 January 2008, when she was succeeded by Serge Brammertz. Del Ponte was formerly married, and has one son.
Del Ponte served as Swiss ambassador to Argentina from 2008 to February 2011.
Del Ponte was born in Bignasco, Switzerland, in 1947. Her first language is Italian and she speaks fluent German, French and English. Del Ponte studied law in Bern and Geneva, as well as in the United Kingdom. She obtained her LL.M. in 1972.
After completing her studies, Del Ponte joined a private law firm in Lugano, leaving in 1975 to set up her own practice.
In 1981, Del Ponte was appointed an investigating magistrate, and later public prosecutor at the Lugano district attorney's office. As public prosecutor, she dealt with cases of money laundering, fraud, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, terrorism and espionage, often looking into the many international links forged in Switzerland's role as a global business centre.
During her time in office, Del Ponte became well known in Europe for breaking a Sicilian Mafia money-laundering operation in Switzerland, pursuing former Soviet bloc officials who may have been stowing illegal funds in Switzerland and investigating Swiss bankers suspected of misappropriating money, in some cases in collaboration with Latin Americans. She also produced the evidence for Pakistan to bring money-laundering charges against Benazir Bhutto, a former Prime Minister, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari. 
It was during that period that she and Investigative Judge Giovanni Falcone uncovered the link between Swiss money launderers and the Italian drug trade in the so-called "pizza connection." Judge Falcone was killed by a large Mafia bomb. Del Ponte was more fortunate as the half a tonne of explosives planted in the foundations of her Palermo home were discovered in time for her to escape the attempted assassination unhurt. Falcone's death nurtured Del Ponte's resolve to fight organised crime. Her enemies in the Cosa Nostra call her "La Puttana" ("the whore"). She therefore became the first public figure in Switzerland to require round-the-clock protection and armour-plated car. 
In the late 1990s, Del Ponte and Yuri Skuratov with Filipe Turover providing evidence investigated Russian corruption involving high ranking Russian officials.   Earlier, both Italian and German Tax officials had started investigations. In early 2000, Filipe Turover sent messages from his residence in Switzerland to Moscow prosecutors "I'm ready to talk about Putin. Always your Turover." (Russian : "Готов говорить о Путине. Всегда ваш Туровер.")  Although the initial investigations were headed by Skuratov and Georgy Timofeyevich Chuglazov (Russian : Георгий Тимофеевич Чуглазов), Chuglazov was promoted to adviser to the Prosecutor General of Russia by Vladimir Ustinov, who replaced Skuratov as Prosecutor General of Russia after Boris Yeltsin fired Skuratov on 2 April 1999; Chuglazov was taken of the case just days before he was to travel to Switzerland in August to depose witnesses and to receive bank and other documents.     The Russian prosecutor Ruslan Tamaev headed the Russian investigations which ended when his half brothers Hasan and Hussein were charged with illegal possession of drugs and weapons and he was subsequently removed from investigations. A few months later the charges against his half brothers were dropped.  Vladimir Putin appointed Pavel Borodin to the diplomatic post of Secretary of the State of the Russia—Belarus Union (Russian : госсекретаря союзного государства Россия--Белоруссия) which gave Borodin diplomatic immunity from prosecution and ended further investigations into Borodin's criminal activities. 
In 1999, Del Ponte suffered a setback when Switzerland's highest court overturned the confiscation by her office of $90 million from Swiss accounts belonging to Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the brother of a former President of Mexico. The court ruled that Del Ponte had no authority to seize the $90 million only on the suspicion that it included money from drug-trafficking. But the ruling did not absolve Salinas of the charges. 
After serving for five years as Switzerland's attorney general, in 1999 Del Ponte joined the ICTY and ICTR to deal with war crimes as prosecutor. Del Ponte was the first experienced prosecutor to hold the job on the war crimes tribunals; her predecessors, Louise Arbour and Richard Goldstone, were both judges. At the time, Switzerland was not a member of the United Nations, which was considered an advantage for Del Ponte. 
In an interview in late 2001 about war crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, Del Ponte said: "Justice for the victims and the survivors requires a comprehensive effort at international and national level."
As reported by Reuters on March 18, 2003, according to Del Ponte, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić had predicted his own assassination on February 17, just weeks before it happened on March 12, 2003. 
In August 2003, after being on the Rwandan genocide case for four years, Del Ponte was removed from the appointment for political reasons  and replaced by Hassan Bubacar Jallow. Carla De Ponte stated that she had fallen foul of President Kagame because she insisted on also on prosecuting the alleged war crimes of President Paul Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front. 
In an interview in Intellectum website in 2004 she boldly stated that she would like to try in ICTY Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. 
In 2005, she accused the Vatican of helping Croatia's most wanted war crimes suspect Ante Gotovina evade capture. He has since been acquitted of all charges by ICTY. The Croatian Bishops' Conference, which heads the Croatian Roman Catholic Church, dismissed Del Ponte's allegations. Its spokesman Antun Suljic said the conference "has no knowledge or indications of the whereabouts" of General Gotovina. 
On January 30, 2007 Del Ponte announced her intention to resign as Chief Prosecutor at the ICTY at the end of the year, stating it was "time to return to normal life."  She was succeeded by Serge Brammertz on January 1, 2008.
Del Ponte served as Switzerland's Ambassador to Argentina from January 2008 until early 2011, when she retired.
From September 2012 to August 2017, Del Ponte was a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic,  under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In May 2013 she accused the Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons, a view diametrically opposed by the majority of Western government officials.[ citation needed ] She stated, "We still have to deepen our investigation, verify and confirm (the findings) through new witness testimony, but according to what we have established so far, it is at the moment opponents of the regime who are using sarin gas."  The following day, in an apparent reaction to Del Ponte's comments, the Commission issued a press release clarifying that it "has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties in the conflict". 
In March 2014, the Commission published a report that stated that the chemical agents used in the Khan al-Assal chemical attack bore "the same unique hallmarks as those used in Al-Ghouta" in the August 2013 chemical attack. The report also indicated, based on "evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used" that the perpetrators of the Al-Ghouta attack "likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military". In none of the incidents, however, was the commission's "evidentiary threshold" met in regards to identifying the perpetrators of the chemical attacks.  
In August 2017, Del Ponte resigned from the commission, due to frustration at the lack of support from the international community: “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 crime in Syria and total impunity. That is not acceptable.”  She blamed Russia for vetoing action:  "Now a prosecutor should continue our work and bring the war criminals before a special court. But that is exactly what Russia is blocking with its veto in the U.N. Security Council".  She said that the commission has gathered enough evidence for president al-Assad to be convicted of war crimes.  Del Ponte told Syria's ambassador that she had been right to quickly reach the conclusion that Assad's government used chemical weapons during an attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017. 
In late December 1999, in an interview with The Observer in London, Del Ponte was asked if she was prepared to press criminal charges against NATO personnel in Kosovo for alleged war crimes committed by pilots and their commanders. She replied, "If I am not willing to do that, I am not in the right place. I must give up my mission". 
That was followed by various negative official responses, military and civilian, from the US and Canada.[ citation needed ] Del Ponte's office subsequently issued a statement dated four days later: "NATO is not under investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICTY. There is no formal inquiry into the actions of NATO during the conflict in Kosovo". 
In 2008, Del Ponte published a book The Hunt in which she claimed that the Kosovo Albanians had smuggled human organs of kidnapped Serbs after the Kosovo war ended in 1999. Her book created an international controversy.  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia stated on Del Ponte's allegations: "The Tribunal is aware of very serious allegations of human organ trafficking raised by the former Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, in a book recently published in Italian under her name. No evidence in support of such allegations was ever brought before the Tribunal’s judges." 
On 4 April 2008, Human Rights Watch asked Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha to open investigations on the matter under international supervision. They ignored the letters and instead publicly rejected Del Ponte's claims as unsubstantiated. On 5 May 2008 Human Rights Watch called the Del Ponte allegations "serious and credible" and publicly called on Tirana and Pristina to cooperate. 
Del Ponte alleged that the victims were more than 300 Serbs missing from the war. "Serious and credible allegations have emerged about horrible abuses in Kosovo and Albania after the war," said Fred Abrahams, HRW Senior emergencies researcher of HRW.
According to the journalists' information, the abducted individuals were held in warehouses and other buildings, including facilities in Kukës and Tropojë. In comparison to other captives, some of the sources said, some of the younger, healthier detainees were fed, examined by doctors, and never beaten. These abducted individuals - an unknown number – were allegedly transferred to a yellow house in or around the Albanian town of Burrel, where doctors extracted the captives' internal organs. These organs were then transported out of Albania via the airport near the capital Tirana. Most of the alleged victims were Serbs who went missing after the arrival of UN and NATO forces in Kosovo. But other captives were women from Kosovo, Albania, Russia, and other Slavic countries.
In 2008, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe authorized an investigation and employed Dick Marty to report the findings to the Parliament.
According to a draft Council of Europe report cited by The Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was one of the key players in the traffic of organs of Serb prisoners after the 1998-99 conflict. 
In November 2012, Ramush Haradinaj, a commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army before becoming prime minister, and all of the accused in the matter were acquitted for the second time of the accusations. 
Del Ponte talked about the issue in Boris Malagurski's documentary film The Weight of Chains 2 (2014). In the interview, she claimed that the UN Mission in Kosovo did not provide the Hague Tribunal with the necessary evidence regarding organ trafficking in Kosovo and that "NATO and the KLA, as allies in the war, couldn't act against each other". 
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was a body of the United Nations that was established to prosecute the war crimes that had been committed during the Yugoslav Wars and to try their perpetrators. The tribunal was an ad hoc court located in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Kosovo Liberation Army was an ethnic Albanian separatist militia that sought the separation of Kosovo, the vast majority of which is inhabited by Albanians, from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and Serbia during the 1990s. Albanian nationalism was a central tenet of the KLA and many in its ranks supported the creation of a Greater Albania, which would encompass all Albanians in the Balkans, stressing Albanian culture, ethnicity and nation. Throughout its existence the KLA was designated as a terrorist group by FRY.
Since the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in 1999, it has been known to the international community that Kosovo is a major destination territory for human trafficking, women and young girls trafficked into forced prostitution. According to Amnesty International, most of women are trafficked from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine.
Ramush Haradinaj is a Kosovo Albanian politician, leader of the AAK party, and the third prime minister of Kosovo. He is a former officer and leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and previously served as Prime Minister of Kosovo between 2004 and 2005.
Serge, Brammertz is a Belgian prosecutor, academic and jurist. He serves as the chief prosecutor for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) since 2016. He also served as the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from 2008 until its closure in 2017.
Andrew Thomas Cayley,, is an English and Welsh King’s Counsel and is His Majesty's Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service having been appointed by the Attorney General of England and Wales, Suella Braverman MP, KC on 19 January 2021.
Yury Ilyich Skuratov is a Russian jurist and politician.
Karim Asad Ahmad Khan is a British lawyer and specialist in international criminal law and international human rights law who has served as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since 2021.
Joint criminal enterprise (JCE) is a legal doctrine used during war crimes tribunals to allow the prosecution of members of a group for the actions of the group. This doctrine considers each member of an organized group individually responsible for crimes committed by group within the common plan or purpose. It arose through the application of the idea of common purpose and has been applied by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to prosecute political and military leaders for mass war crimes, including genocide, committed during the Yugoslav Wars 1991–1999.
The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals is a book written by Carla Del Ponte, published in April 2008. According to Del Ponte she received information saying about 300 Serbs were kidnapped and transferred to Albania in 1999 where their organs were extracted. The book caused a considerable controversy with Kosovan and Albanian officials denying these allegations and Russian and Serbian officials demanding more investigation. ICTY stated no substantial evidence supporting the allegations was brought to the court.
John Clint Williamson is an American diplomat, lawyer, and educator who has served in a variety of senior-level roles with the United States Government, the United Nations, and the European Union.
Chuck Sudetic is a former writer and journalist from the United States whose work focused mainly on the lands and peoples of the now defunct country of Yugoslavia. He has written extensively on the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, international war-crimes prosecution efforts after the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, and life from the fifth century B.C. to the present day in and around what is now the seaside town of Dubrovnik. Sudetic also wrote on the Roma of Europe, mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and crime in New York City.
A series of war crimes was committed during the Kosovo War. The forces of the Slobodan Milošević regime committed rape, killed many Albanian civilians and expelled them during the war, along with the widespread destruction of civilian, cultural and religious property. According to Human Rights Watch, the vast majority of the violations which were committed from January 1998 to April 1999 were attributable to the Serbian police or the Yugoslav army. The violations also included war crimes which were committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army, such as kidnappings and summary executions of civilians. In 2014, the Humanitarian Law Center released a list of people who were killed or went missing during the war, including 8,661 Kosovo Albanian civilians, 1,797 ethnic Serbs and 447 civilians who were members of other ethnicities such as Romani people and Bosniaks.
Sir Geoffrey Nice KC is a British barrister and judge. He took part in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and was lead prosecutor at Slobodan Milošević's trial. He is chair of the China Tribunal and the Uyghur Tribunal, which have investigated human rights abuses in China.
United Nations Security Council resolution 1259, adopted unanimously on 11 August 1999, after recalling resolutions 808 (1993), 827 (1993), 936 (1994), 955 (1994) and 1047 (1996), the Council appointed Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
United Nations Security Council resolution 1503, adopted unanimously on 28 August 2003, after recalling resolutions 827 (1993), 955 (1994), 978 (1995), 1165 (1998), 1166 (1998), 1329 (2000), 1411 (2002), 1431 (2002) and 1481 (2003), the Council decided to split the prosecutorial duties of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) which had previously been under the responsibility of one official, Carla Del Ponte, since 1999.
United Nations Security Council resolution 1504, adopted unanimously on 4 September 2003, after recalling Resolution 1503 (2003), the Council appointed Carla Del Ponte as Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The war crimes trial of Slobodan Milošević, the former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) lasted for just over four years from 2002 until his death in 2006. Milošević faced 66 counts of crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic was set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 22 August 2011 to investigate human rights violations during the Syrian Civil War to establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to violations and crimes and, where possible, to identify those responsible to be held accountable with a future prosecution of Syrian civil war criminals. The Commission posts regular updates via its official Twitter page.
War crimes witnesses to the Kosovo War (1998–99) have been victims to threats, violence, and murder. Those who spoke out about the abuses of their side in the conflict were seen as traitors to their community, and therefore, only a few became witnesses in war crime trials. The international institutions ICTY, UNMIK and EULEX, and national courts in Serbia and Kosovo, have all had problems in ensuring safety for testifying protected witnesses. According to observers, one of the main reasons that the Kosovo Relocated Specialist Judicial Institution will partly operate outside Kosovo is the past failures of the international institutions to protect witnesses. According to Carla Del Ponte, the former ICTY prosecutor, "the investigation of the Kosovo Liberation Army fighters appeared to be the most frustrating of all the investigations done by the ICTY," and stated "witnesses were so afraid and intimidated that they even feared to talk about the KLA presence in some areas, not to mention actual crimes". She further stated that "I am convinced that UNMIK and even KFOR officers were afraid for their lives and the lives of their missions’ members. I think some of the ICTY judges were afraid that they would become a target for the Albanians" and believes that witness intimidation seriously affected the acquitting verdicts against KLA officials Fatmir Limaj and Ramush Haradinaj. Numerous witnesses did change their testimonies during trials, while others were killed or mysteriously disappeared. Avni Zogiani, leader of an anti-corruption nongovernmental organization in Kosovo, said "Intimidation and even killings of witnesses are nothing new or shocking in Kosovo". EULEX prosecutor Charles Hardaway said that "Witness intimidation, not only in war crimes but in other cases too, is happening from people with high competencies in government who are powerful". According to Belgian author Jelle Janssens, it was reported that judges and prosecutors became terrified at the mention of high-ranking KLA officers or politicians in case files. Del Ponte asserts that there were serious abuses of witnesses in Kosovo local criminal proceedings, and also alleged that UNMIK leaked sensitive information about witnesses to defendants, which UNMIK denied but later admitted that it had stopped some investigations into high-level perpetrators due to political reasons. The Humanitarian Law Center concluded that a large number of acquittals were due to witnesses changing their stories, suspecting intimidation.