Carla Del Ponte

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Carla Del Ponte (2006)

Carla Del Ponte (born February 9, 1947 in Bignasco , Canton of Ticino ) is a Swiss jurist and diplomat . From 1994 to 1998 she was federal prosecutor for the Swiss Confederation and from 1999 to 2007 chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and for the genocide in Rwanda in The Hague . From 2008 to 2011 she was Swiss Ambassador to Argentina .

From 2011 to 2017 she was a member of a commission (IICISyria) set up by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate human rights violations in Syria in the civil war there .

Professional background

Carla Del Ponte grew up with three brothers in a small village in the canton of Ticino. Her mother was a nanny and her father ran a hotel. She grew up knowing that she must fight for goals, but she can also assert herself.

Del Ponte studied international law in Berne , at the University of Geneva and in Great Britain . From 1972 Del Ponte worked in a legal practice in Lugano , in 1975 she founded her own law firm and initially specialized in divorce law, which she found boring in the long run.

In 1981 she switched to the prosecution and became a public prosecutor for the canton of Ticino. Their action against money laundering , organized crime , arms smuggling and cross-border white-collar crime was considered uncompromising. She worked closely with the Italian judge Giovanni Falcone , who was murdered in 1992, against the mafia and narrowly escaped a bomb attack near Palermo on June 20, 1989 .

In 1994 she was appointed Attorney General of Switzerland . Among other things, she investigated money laundering and corruption in the immediate vicinity of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and against the brother of former Mexican President Salinas . Her work as the chief prosecutor of the Swiss federal authorities was evaluated differently: from the left, she was accused - also in parliament - of having developed too much publicity about her cases, most of which then fizzled out. One of the main prosecution witnesses in the corruption scandal surrounding Boris Yeltsin ("Russia Gate"), Yeltsin advisor Felipe Turover, sued Del Ponte in March 2001 for negligently endangering his life. The Swiss federal prosecutor Valentin Roschacher dismissed the lawsuit against his predecessor. Turover then sued Roschacher for favoring Del Ponte. In May 2002, a special prosecutor was appointed to the matter.

In September 1999, she became Chief Prosecutor of both the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia , responsible for prosecuting serious crimes during the Yugoslav wars , and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda , responsible for prosecuting perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, succeeding Louise Arbor . As part of a restructuring in 2003, she had to give up the position of chief prosecutor for the Rwanda tribunal.

Carla Del Ponte during a lecture at the University of Lausanne in April 2005

She resigned as Chief Prosecutor on December 31, 2007 after eight years in office. During that time, 91 people out of 161 indicted by the UN tribunal since 1993 were arrested or surrendered voluntarily and 63 people were convicted.

After her resignation as chief prosecutor, she declined to return to the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office. She was appointed Swiss Ambassador to Argentina by the Federal Council on January 1, 2008 . She retired at the end of February 2011.

In August 2008, in an interview with the Belgrade newspaper Blic , Del Ponte's spokeswoman Florence Hartmann made serious allegations against Clinton and Chirac : Both had repeatedly prevented Karadžić from being arrested.

Del Ponte has been investigating human rights violations in Syria since August 2011 as a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). In this capacity, Del Ponte said in early May 2013 to the Ticino television RSI about the poison gas attacks in Aleppo two months earlier: "We have witnesses from doctors, refugees in neighboring countries and hospital workers that chemical weapons were used - not by the government, but by of the opposition” (the Free Syrian Army supported by the USA , Great Britain , Qatar and Saudi Arabia , among others ). The manner in which the victims were treated medically raises the suspicion that sarin was used. On August 19, 2013, UN chemical weapons inspectors were sent to Syria to investigate the matter, but their work was diverted to a second poison gas attack just two days later. In October 2017, Del Ponte resigned from her position as UN Special Counsel in Syria. The reason she gave was a lack of political support and stagnation in her work. She accused the UN of not wanting a solution.

Carla Del Ponte has published several books about her eventful professional life.

Organ smuggling controversy

In 2008 Carla Del Ponte published her autobiography La caccia. Io ei criminali di guerra (Eng.: On behalf of the prosecution. My hunt for war criminals and the search for justice ), in which she presents extensive material on alleged organ smuggling activities by Kosovar Albanians . The book caused a stir internationally. Del Ponte expressed the suspicion that the Kosovo Liberation Army UÇK kidnapped around 300 Serbs in the summer of 1999 and removed their organs for resale. There was enough evidence for an investigation before the International Court of Justice, but this was "nipped in the bud". However , neither Del Ponte nor the journalist Michael Montgomery, who was investigating the matter, were able to provide sufficient evidence for the organ removal, which is said to have taken place in Albania near Burrel .

The human rights organization Human Rights Watch called on 4./5. May 2008 the Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha for clarification. Both publicly dismissed the allegations as unfounded.

In 2008, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs banned Del Ponte from attending the presentation of her book by decree .

Triggered by Del Ponte's book, the Council of Europe , led by Swiss MEP Dick Marty , produced a two-year investigation that was published in December 2010. In it, Hashim Thaçi and other former leaders of the Kosovan Liberation Army KLA are accused of involvement in illegal organ trafficking and involvement in contract killings and other crimes.


Carla Del Ponte lives in Ticino. She speaks Italian , German , French and English . She has been divorced twice and has a son, Mario Timbal, director of Radiotelevisione Svizzera (RSI) since April 1, 2021. Del Ponte is known to be a very good golf player with a good handicap .



  • Carla Del Ponte, Chuck Sudetic: La caccia. Io ei criminali di guerra . Feltrinelli , Milano 2008, ISBN 978-88-07-17144-4 .
    • German edition: In the name of the prosecution. My hunt for war criminals and the quest for justice. S. Fischer Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-10-013911-5 .
  • Carla Del Ponte tells. Edition experienced & remembered, Zurich 2011, ISBN 978-3-9523321-6-0 (audio book).
  • On behalf of the victims. The failure of the UN and international politics in Syria. Giger, Altendorf 2018, ISBN 978-3-906872-53-7 .
  • I'm not a heroine. My long fight for justice. Westend, Frankfurt am Main 2021, ISBN 978-3-86489-113-7 (also as an audio book).



web links

Commons : Carla Del Ponte  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. a b c d Former UN Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte - Brave, no-nonsense and feared. In: In conversation. Deutschlandfunk Kultur, June 9, 2021, retrieved June 10, 2021 .
  2. Mafia allegedly plotted to assassinate Carla Del Ponte. In: New Zurich newspaper . February 7, 2003.
  3. Christian Mensch: The spy who came from the milieu. In: World Week . January 15, 2003.
  4. Jürgen Elsässer : Del Ponte and the mafia. In: Telepolis . September 15, 2003.
  5. Swiss Prosecutor to Be Named to War Crimes Tribunals. In: New York Times . Aug 6, 1999.
  6. "It is absolutely essential that the truth comes out". In: New Zurich newspaper. November 29, 2007 (interview).
  7. Helena Kysela: The woman for the rough ones ( Memento from October 29, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). In: Sü . December 13, 2007.
  8. Carla del Ponte does not want to join the federal prosecutor's office. In: NZZ Online . July 29, 2007.
  9. Markus M. Haefliger: The rough diplomat. In: NZZ on Sunday . July 15, 2007.
  10. Pierre Bratschi: Carla Del Ponte: From Justice to Golf. In: Swissinfo . March 3, 2011.
  11. Serious allegations against ex-president ( memento of July 24, 2012 in the web archive ). In: , 11 August 2008.
  12. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. In: United Nations Human Rights Council website.
  13. Syrian rebels reportedly using poison gas. In: look . May 6, 2013.
  14. "Résignée", Carla Del Ponte claque la porte de la Commission d'enquête de l'ONU sur la Syrie. In: France 24 . 6 August 2017, retrieved 6 August 2017 .
  15. Andrea Backhaus: Everyone failed in Syria. In: Time Online . August 7, 2017 (comment).
  16. Thomas Zaugg: What happened in Burrel? In: The Magazine . 13 February 2010 ( Copy of article ( Memento of 23 November 2010 at Internet Archive )).
  17. Kosovo/Albania: kidnappings and deportations to Albania to be investigated ( memento of November 10, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). Human Rights Watch , May 5, 2008 (press release).
  18. Gaudenz Looser: Because of her memoirs: Muzzle for Del Ponte. In: 20 minutes . April 7, 2008.
  19. Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in organs in Kosovo. Council of Europe , 7 January 2011 (Draft Resolution and Explanatory Memorandum by Dick Marty ); Detention facilities in Albania used by KLA members and affiliates (report attachment: map; PDF; 750 kB).
  20. Hashim Thaci: Murderer and organ trafficker? In: Daily Gazette . December 15, 2010.
  21. Matthias Chapman: «The prisoners begged their tormentors to kill them at once». In: Daily Gazette. December 15, 2010.
  22. Cinzia Venafro: Carla Del Ponte, huntress of war criminals, draws a harrowing life balance. "I have achieved nothing". . September 27, 2017 (Interview).
  23. Gerhard Lob: He takes over the station with a scratched image: "It needs a new corporate culture". In: St. Galler Tagblatt . May 26, 2021.
  24. Overzicht eredoktoraten 1966–2012. Catholic University of Louvain website , 4 February 2002.
  25. Schwarzkopf Europe Prize. Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe website .
  26. Carla Del Ponte receives the Hessian Peace Prize. Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 29, 2018, retrieved August 25, 2020 . .
  27. Carla Del Ponte receives the Erich Walser Generations Prize 2019 , retrieved on August 28, 2019
  28. ↑ A fuss about Carla Del Ponte's book. In: Swissinfo. April 9, 2008.
  29. Main obstacle: particular interests book review by Rolf Lamprecht, Süddeutsche Zeitung Online, June 19, 2021.
predecessor government office successor
Willy Padrutt Attorney General of the Swiss Confederation
Valentin Roschacher
Daniel von Muralt Swiss Ambassador in Buenos Aires
John Matyassy