THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 10 April 2018 — Since the first reports of alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, were issued, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been gathering information from all available sources and analysing it. At the same time, OPCW’s Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, has considered the deployment of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team to Douma to establish facts surrounding these allegations.
Today, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment. This has coincided with a request from the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly.
Set up in 2014, the on-going mandate of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) is “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic”. The OPCW cannot and will not release information about an on-going investigation. This policy exists to preserve the integrity of the investigatory process and its results as well as to ensure the safety and security of OPCW experts and personnel involved. All parties are asked to respect the confidentiality parameters required for a rigorous and unimpeded investigation.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over ninety-six per cent of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.