Thursday, February 5, 2015

OPCW decision on Syria: Accountability

OPCW - Executive Council
Forty-Eighth Meeting EC-M-48/DEC.1
21, 23, and 29 January and 4 February 2015
4 February 2015


The Executive Council,

Underlining that the use of any chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances would be reprehensible and completely contrary to the legal norms and standards of the international community;

Recalling the determination of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (hereinafter “the Convention”) “for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons”, through the implementation of the provisions of the Convention;

Cognizant of the reports of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria (S/1191/2014, dated 16 June 2014; S/1212/2014, dated 10 September 2014; and S/1230/2014, dated 18 December 2014), created by the Director-General to establish the facts surrounding the allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic, and of the fact that the Director-General transmitted the reports to the United Nations Secretary-General; while noting that in the Executive Council diverse views were expressed with regard to these reports;

Noting the statement of the Director-General to this Meeting that he intends to include the reports of the Fact-Finding Mission, along with information on the discussion thereof in the Executive Council, as part of the Director-General’s monthly reports to the Security Council, made through the Secretary-General pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolution 2118(2013);

Mindful that the task of the Fact-Finding Mission does not include the question of attributing responsibility for the alleged use;

Mindful of the letter of the Director-General dated 3 October 2013, transmitting the United Nations Security Council resolution 2118, dated 27 September 2013;

Expressing appreciation to the Fact-Finding Mission personnel for their courage and dedication in carrying out their assignment; and

Expressing support for the continuation of the work of the Fact-Finding Mission, in particular studying all available information relating to allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria including that provided by the Syrian Arab Republic as well as by others;


1. Expresses serious concern regarding the findings of the Fact-Finding Mission, made with a high degree of confidence, that chlorine had been used as a weapon in Syria in the villages of Talmenes, Al Tamanah, and Kafr Zita from April to August 2014;

2. Reaffirms its condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances;

3. Emphasises that any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable and would violate international law;

4. Expresses its strong conviction that those individuals responsible for the use of chemical weapons should be held accountable;

5. Requests the Director-General to provide the Executive Council at its next regular session with information on the progress of the Fact-Finding Mission as well as on specific plans, schedules and their implementation; and

6. Calls upon all parties which will be addressed by the Fact-Finding Mission to extend their full cooperation to the Mission to ensure that it completes its work safely and effectively.
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