By Tamer Abulainain
GENEVA, Sept 19 (KUNA) -- Swiss judge Carla Del Ponte's name has been associated with international war criminals and how she sought justice in complex cases, just to acknowledge at end of her career that the "world is not better" ... well at least for now.
This was the outcome of Del Ponte's latest book "I am not a hero ... my long struggle for Justice," in which the former chief international prosecutor listed major justice-seeking pursuits for victims of war crimes.
The 74-year-old author explained in her 172-page book causes of failure of many war crimes' cases. She said failure to bring justice for victimes of war crimes was "catastrophic" and was due to loopholes in the law, and raised the question why big countries like the US and Russia were shielded from prosecution.
"The international law is a very fragile tool because not all countries ratified the Rome Statute of July 17 1998 which established the International Criminal Court," she said.
However, del Ponte considered establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal on former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993 "a birth of international justice," which made prosecution of people accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity "possible even at highest levels." Standing of Slobodan Milosevic as a former President before ICTY to face war crimes charges should be commended, she said, alongside convinction of 90 people by ICTY.
ICTY was a historic step forward because "we could put an end to evasion of justice that many political leaders did in many parts of the world, however we still face some obstacles," she said.
"It is unlikely we overcome these obstacles, like indecisiveness of United Nations to dealing with war crimes and crimes against humanity because of veto by permanent members (US, UK, France, Russia and China) who fear their citizens would be prosecuted before international justice," noted Del Ponte.
She said the international law existed since the first and second world wars but it was not applied properly because of the lack of "necessary incentive" and "personal interests" of parties allegedly involved in conflicts.
Del Ponte said former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (1997-2006) tried to address these issues but failed because of opposition of Washington and Moscow.
She added Annan said "none of them wished to abondon its powers." She commented that this fact "lead to the current catastrophic condition of international law." Del Ponte, who regretted creation of a special court for crimes in Syria, said the international law was in a "grey area which lies between law and politics," and "between national sovereignty and international responsibility." But she asserted importance of highlighting legal "red lines" for people in authority.
She warned against dismantling of the International Criminal Court because she believed some governments were blocking investigations against their interests, or refuse to cooperate with the ICC, cut of funding or interferring in preparation of list of the accused.
Del Ponte's book gives insight and historic background about circumstances of cases that might affect achieving justice for victims.
She reaffirmed conviction to justice and asserted that her pursuit to justice has not end but begins with the start of every day.
Del Ponte, who was Attorney General of Switzerland, had international achievements by dismantling one of the Mafia gangs and was among major officials who sought creation of ICTY.
She chaired a special tribunal for genocide in Rwanda, named Switzerland's Ambassador to Argentina and became member in the UN commission investigating human rights violations in Syria. (end) ta.bs