NEW YORK, 30 August 2016 (Joint Investigative Mechanism) — The Security Council considered the third report (document S/2016/738) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, pursuant to resolution 2235 (2015). The report provides the findings, assessments and conclusions of the Mechanism’s Leadership Panel regarding those behind the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria.
The Leadership Panel concluded that, in the cases of Talmenes (21 April 2014) and Sarmin (16 March 2015), they had sufficient information to determine that the Syrian Armed Forces were responsible for the attack which released toxic substances. In the case of Marea (21 August 2015), the Panel concluded that there was sufficient information to determine that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) was the only entity with the ability, capability, motive and the means to use sulfur mustard during this attack which released toxic substances.
Further, the Leadership Panel determined that in another three cases, Kafr Zita (18 April 2014), Qmenas (16 March 2015) and Binnish (24 March 2015), the investigation continued with analysis forthcoming from forensic institutes and laboratories. The Mechanism will provide an update on these three cases in its fourth report in September.
Lastly, the Leadership Panel found insufficient evidence to identify to the greatest extent feasible those involved in the use of chemicals as weapons in another three cases. They are: Kafr Zita (11 April 2014), Al Tamanah (29‑30 April 2014) and Al Tamanah (25‑26 May 2014). The Panel recommends no further investigation in these cases.
“We cannot allow chemical weapons to become the norm of the already unspeakable conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic or anywhere else. The perpetrators must be identified and held accountable to deter such actions in the future. It is the Panel’s hope that the results of the Mechanism’s investigation will contribute to this process,” Virginia Gamba, Head of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, told the media after her briefing to the Security Council.
The Mechanism conducted an independent, impartial and objective investigation as a sub-organ of the Security Council, led by a three-member Leadership Panel (Virginia Gamba, Adrian Neritani, Eberhard Schanze). The Mechanism was mandated to identify to the greatest extent feasible those involved in the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria, where the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission determined that a specific incident involved or likely involved the use of chemicals as weapons.
The OPCW supported the Mechanism’s work by providing access to the Fact-Finding Mission’s findings, which represented the starting point for the Mechanism’s investigation into nine cases related to incidents between April 2014 and September 2015. The Mechanism independently collected and analysed further information and evidence that contributed to the identification of those involved in the use of chemicals as weapons.