OPCW Executive Council Adopts Decision Regarding the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism Reports About Chemical Weapons Use in the Syrian Arab Republic

Friday, 11 November 2016

Image from a meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Executive Council (EC) adopted by vote a decision today that expresses grave concern about and condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, calls on all parties identified in the OPCW-United Nations (UN) Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) reports as responsible for chemical weapons use to desist immediately and authorises additional inspections at selected sites and facilities of concern in Syria.

The Executive Council decision follows the JIM’s recent findings, contained in its third and fourth reports, that the Syrian Arab Armed Forces and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been involved in the use of chemical weapons and toxic chemicals as weapons.

The Executive Council expressed its deepest sympathy for the victims of chemical weapons attacks and its conviction that “every actor involved in these chemical weapons attacks should be held accountable”.

The continued interest in the development, acquisition, and use of chemical weapons by non-state actors and the potential for this threat to increase over time was also addressed by the Executive Council. It expressed its grave concern and underscored the essential role of the OPCW with respect to preventing and responding to the threat posed by non-state actors to the object and purpose of the CWC.

With the decision, the Council determined that necessary next steps include the OPCW Technical Secretariat undertaking, as soon as the security situation permits, further verification activities such as “conduct[ing] inspections in the Syrian Arab Republic at those sites identified by the OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism in its third and fourth reports, as involved in the weaponisation, storage, delivery, and use of toxic chemicals as weapons”.

The Executive Council’s decision further includes that the Technical Secretariat will conduct inspections, including sampling and analysis, at the Barzah facilities of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) as well as the Jamrayah SSRC facilities, twice a year on dates to be determined by the Secretariat. The Syrian Arab Republic is obliged to “facilitate promptly, and fully cooperate with, these inspections,” until the Executive Council decides to end them.

The Council expressed grave concern that all gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies related to the initial declaration were not resolved and demanded that the Syrian Arab Republic comply fully with its obligations including the expeditious resolution of all outstanding issues regarding its declaration and related disclosures.

In addition, the Technical Secretariat is tasked with analysing any information or materials “relevant to existing or future allegations of chemical weapons possession or use”.

Background

The Executive Council is the executive organ of the OPCW and consists of 41 members from the five regional groups. The EC is responsible to the 192 members of the Conference of the States Parties. The EC promotes the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and compliance with it. The EC also supervises the activities of the Technical Secretariat. The Council cooperates with the National Authorities of Member States and facilitates consultations and cooperation among them at their request.

The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) was set up in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic”. The OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was established by the UN Security Council (Resolution 2235, 7 August 2015) with the mandate to identify “to the greatest extent feasible” individuals, entities, groups, or governments who were perpetrators, organisers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons in Syria, where the OPCW FFM determines or has determined that a specific incident involved or likely involved the use of chemicals as weapons.

The Chemical Weapons Convention comprehensively prohibits the use, development, production, storage and transfer of chemical weapons. Any chemical used for warfare is considered a chemical weapon by the Convention. The OPCW is the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention and oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.

The Convention entered into force in 1997. With 192 countries obligating themselves to the CWC, it is the most successful disarmament treaty, eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. To date, over 93 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.

More information

Contacts

Public Affairs
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR
The Hague, The Netherlands
+31 70 416 32 42
public.affairs@opcw.org
www.opcw.org

Follow us on Twitter: @OPCW
Like us on Facebook or connect with us on LinkedIn


Categories: Executive Council, Syria

For further information, please contact OPCW Public Affairs. +31 (0) 70 416 3242, public.affairs@opcw.org | ORGANISATION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS, Johan de Wittlaan 32, 2517 JR The Hague, The Netherlands

Follow OPCW on Facebook and Twitter.

More news

H.E. Mr Venu Rajamony (India)

H.E. Mr Venu Rajamony, Permanent Representative of the Republic of India to the OPCW, presented his credentials to the Director-General on 22 June 2017.22 June 2017Full story

OPCW Director-General Urges Continued Support for Norm against Chemical Weapons during Visit to United States

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 21 June 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, delivered a keynote address at an event hosted by the US Department of...21 June 2017Full story

OPCW Executive Council and Director-General Review Abandoned Chemical Weapons’ Destruction Progress in China

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 21 June 2017 — A high-level delegation representing the OPCW Executive Council visited the People’s Republic of China from 12 to 16 June to assess the status of efforts to destroy chemical weapons...21 June 2017Full story

OPCW Director-General Visits China

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 15 June 2017 — The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, met with senior Chinese officials and delivered a lecture at Peking...15 June 2017Full story

Chemists from Africa Advance Expertise in Chemical Analysis

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 8 June 2017 — Chemists from Africa expanded their expertise in analysing chemicals related to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) through the application of gas chromatography (GC) and gas...08 June 2017Full story

OPCW Confidentiality Commission Elects New Chairperson and Reviews Procedures

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 8 June 2017 — The Commission for the Settlement of Disputes Related to Confidentiality elected a new Chairperson during its annual meeting held from 17 - 19 May at the seat of the Organisation for the...08 June 2017Full story

Professionals from Africa Train to Promote a Culture of Safety and Security and Algeria Commemorates OPCW 20th Anniversary

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 6 June 2017 — Chemistry professionals from across Africa are better equipped to implement the industry-related provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) after a workshop on chemical safety and...06 June 2017Full story

Experts from Latin America and the Caribbean Enhance Skills in Toxic Chemical Response

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 2 June 2017 — First responders from Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) enhanced their ability to respond to incidents with chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) during a...02 June 2017Full story

Arabic Speaking First Responders Upgrade Skills at Training in Morocco

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 1 June 2017 — First responders from Arabic speaking countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa upgraded their capabilities in responding to emergencies involving toxic chemicals, after a training...01 June 2017Full story

Latin American and Caribbean First Responders Trained in Advanced Chemical Emergency Response Techniques

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 1 June 2017 — Twenty-one first responders attended the Sixth Regional Advanced Assistance and Protection Course on Chemical Emergency Response for States Parties in Latin America and the Caribbean in...01 June 2017Full story

Displaying 1 to 10 of 1771
<< First < Previous 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 Next > Last >>