Joint UN body to probe chemical weapons in Syria is now ‘fully operational’

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas (file)

13 November 2015 – A joint body between the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria is fully operational as of today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the Security Council.

In a letter to the 15-member body dated 10 November, Mr. Ban said of the so-called UN Joint Investigation Mechanism (JIM) has proceeded with the recruitment of its core and administrative staff, Deputy UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq told the daily news briefing at UN Headquarters.

“And during the last month, it has also moved to set up its offices in both New York and The Hague, [Netherlands] as well as a light presence in Damascus,” Syria, the Spokesperson said.

“The Joint Investigation Mechanism is now sufficiently staffed to declare itself fully operational as of today,” he said.

The mechanism was established this past August after the passage of a resolution by the UN Security Council and is located in The Hague.

The joint body, established for a period of one year with a possibility of future extension, will be tasked with identifying “individuals, entities, groups, or governments involved in the use of chemicals as weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemical,” in Syria, according to the Council, which reiterated that those responsible must be held accountable.

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