Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian – UN – Report by the UN - OPCW joint investigative mission (26 October 2017)

The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which determines responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, issued its report yesterday.

It unambiguously concluded that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which left 83 people dead on April 4, noting that it had obtained credible and reliable evidence leading to this conclusion. It also concluded that Daesh was responsible for the attack on Um Hosh on September 16, 2016.

These conclusions come in the wake of earlier JIM reports establishing the Syrian regime’s responsibility for three previous attacks, and that of Daesh for one other. They confirm our own national assessment published on April 26 and establishing the regime’s responsibility for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun.

They also confirm the Syrian regime’s serious violations of the international commitments it had undertaken in 2013 following the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2118 on the complete dismantlement of its chemical capacities. Impunity is unacceptable. France continues to work with its partners in New York and The Hague to draw the operational conclusions of the JIM report and to determine the best way of punishing those responsible for these attacks, in order to combat chemical proliferation.

For now, the JIM must be allowed to continue its work. It has once again demonstrated its usefulness and the professionalism of its investigative methods. It must be able to continue to document cases in which chemical weapons are used, whether the perpetrators are state or non-state actors.

Born of a joint US-Russian initiative that was unanimously adopted by the Security Council in August 2015, the JIM’s mandate must be renewed before November 17. We will work within the Security Council to this end. More broadly, we will work with all of its members and with those of the OPCW, including Russia, to draw the operational conclusions of the JIM report and to do all we can to ensure that the use of chemical weapons does not become more widespread.

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