World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Fact finding Mission results of Chemical Weapons in Syria

Press Conference On Mission To Investigate Alleged Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

On a scale of 1 to 10, the fact-finding mission in Syria had achieved 8.7, the chief of the mission charged with verifying the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria said at a Headquarters press conference today.

Åke Sellström, Head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Mission to Investigate Alleged Uses of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, responding to questions about the Mission’s success, said it had discharged its responsibilities as best it could within its mandate, using the mechanisms and instruments available.

Earlier, he said the Mission had concluded that chemical weapons had been used in the ongoing conflict in Syria after investigating 7 of the 16 allegations it had reviewed. It had used methods ranging from interviews through the study of epidemiological footprints to the analysis of blood samples. While some of the allegations concerned the use of chemical weapons against civilians, others related to their use against Syrian soldiers.

Accompanying Mr. Sellström were Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; Scott Cairns of OPCW; and Maurizio Barbeschi of the World Health Organization (WHO). Asked repeatedly about who was responsible for the use of chemical weapons, all four emphasized that the question of attribution would require more efforts and resources. “We are not free as the police force would be,” Mr. Sellström emphasized.

The Mission’s task was to find out “whether, not who”, Ms. Kane pointed out. If necessary, Member States could mandate a future mission to investigate responsibility, as had been done in recent investigations conducted in Lebanon and Pakistan. She pointed out that the current Mission’s investigation had compelled Syria to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was good news in itself.

Other questions related to the chain of custody under which the evidence had travelled to and been stored in the laboratory, with some correspondents noting that two officials from the Syrian Government had accompanied the samples to the laboratory in Europe. One reporter asked why opposition representatives had not been asked to accompany the samples since they also faced allegations of using chemical weapons.

Mr. Sellström responded by citing the Mission’s distinct guidelines, which stipulated that the samples must be split with the M ember State concerned. While it was easy to draw two samples of blood from the same patient, it was more difficult to split environmental samples such as pieces of metal or soil. Hence, Syrian Government representatives had accompanied the Mission’s samples.

As for where the samples had been stored and how a prosecuting authority could get hold of them, Ms. Kane said they were the property of the United Nations, under safeguard as “a living document”. Beyond the question of accountability, there was also considerable interest in their research potential.

Mr. Barbeschi added that the samples had enormous scientific value and could lead to lifesaving knowledge about managing chemical weapons.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Julie Webb-Pullman: Palestinian National Unity Government

A national unity government. Elections. A new-look PLO. Community reconciliation. Big hopes, even bigger expectations as representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas came to an agreement in Gaza today to form a national unity government and hold elections. More>>

ALSO:

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news