The United Nations has released a report finding “clear and convincing” evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria. The report, released on September 16, finds compelling evidence that chemicals were used in the August 21 attack that left hundreds of civilians dead in a Damascus suburb. Its findings come as the UN Security Council members meet to draft a resolution on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Referring to the August 21 attack as a “war crime” and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that, “There must be accountability for the use of chemical weapons. Any use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, is a crime.”
Although the UN team led by Dr. Åke Sellström have been able to determine that sarin gas was used on a large scale, the report does not provide an answer as to who used the chemical weapons in the attack.
The Security Council resolution currently in progress will enforce the recent US-Russia deal that stalled President Barack Obama’s plans for a military strike against Syria. Reports on the meeting have painted a tense picture, with heated disagreements over who carried out the chemical attack and the inclusion of the threat of military action in the resolution’s wording.
In a statement released September 4, the six laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the case of Syria’s use of chemical weapons to the International Criminal Court. In the statement the Laureates said, “The use of chemical weapons is a war crime that should be addressed by the international legal system created precisely for such events. More bombs, more violence, more war will only undercut the ICC and further weaken international humanitarian law.”
It is not too late to tell your political representative that military action is not the solution to resolve the conflict in Syria and to “call for justice through the Court not through cruise missiles”. Find out how you can take action below.
Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013, United Nations, September 16, 2013.
‘Clear and convincing’ evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria, UN team reports, UN News Center, September 16, 2013.
Syria crisis: UN powers discuss Council resolution, BBC News, September 17, 2013.
Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons, US Department of State, September 14, 2013.
UN Security Council: Seize Chance for Justice in Syria, Human Rights Watch, September 17, 2013.