Awardee of the Hessian Peace Prize 2017: Carla del Ponte

Carla del Ponte receives the Hessian Peace Prize (Photo: ©Hermann Heibel/Hessischer Landtag, Kanzlei)
Carla del Ponte receives the Hessian Peace Prize (Photo: ©Hermann Heibel/Hessischer Landtag, Kanzlei)

On February 23rd, former swiss lawyer and diplomat Carla del Ponte was awarded with the Hessian Peace Prize. The prize recognizes her outstanding life’s work and especially her firm conviction that only law can establish sustainable peace.

Carla del Ponte worked as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. After spending three years in Argentina as Switzerland’s ambassador, Carla del Ponte was appointed as a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. The Prize’s curatorship especially honors her relentless commitment in behalf of  the victims of human rights violations  and the enforcement of international criminal law in the cause justice. Ms del Ponte has spared no political conflict in order to bring justice to the victims of the most serious crimes against humanity - even if that meant violating diplomatic rules. She has openly addressed political failings, such as the insufficient cooperation of Western states in the prosecution of wanted war criminals in Yugoslavia.

In 2017, Carla del Ponte resigned from the Commission of Inquiry on war crimes in Syria after five years due to the to frustration at the lack of support from the international community. Her withdrawal exemplifies Carla del Ponte’s unwavering determination to fight injustices in spite of resistance.


The award ceremony took place at the Hessian Parliament (Landtag) in Wiesbaden. The Hessian Peace Prize was founded in 1993 by the former Prime Minister of the State of Hesse, Albert Osswald, and his foundation. The prize is endowed with €25.000. It is awarded to individuals who have rendered outstanding service to furthering mutual understanding among nations and peace. PRIF advices the committee in the selection of awardees and documents the award ceremonies.

Carla del Ponte donated the endowment of 25,000 € to different projects. Among others, she supports a care project for Syrian children and surgeons working for free in African countries.