Seventh report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (S/2017/904) [EN/AR]

Report
from UN Security Council
Published on 26 Oct 2017 View Original

Letter dated 26 October 2017 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council

I have the honour to convey herewith the seventh report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (see annex).

I should be grateful if the present letter and its annex could be brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

(Signed) António Guterres

Annex

Letter dated 26 October 2017 from the Leadership Panel of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism addressed to the Secretary-General

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism has the honour to transmit its seventh report pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2235 (2015) and 2319 (2016) (see enclosure).

(Signed) Edmond Mulet Head Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism

(Signed) Judy Cheng-Hopkins Leadership Panel

(Signed) Stefan Mogl Leadership Panel

Enclosure

Seventh report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism

I. Introduction

1. The seventh report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2235 (2015) and 2319 (2016). It covers the period from 23 June 2017, when the sixth report of the Mechanism (see S/2017/552) was submitted to the Council, to 25 October 2017.

II. Background

2. As set forth in resolutions 2235 (2015) and 2319 (2016), the mandate of the Mechanism is to identify, to the greatest extent feasible, individuals, entities, groups or Governments who were perpetrators, organizers, sponsors or otherwise involved in the use of chemicals as weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemical, in the Syrian Arab Republic where the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic determines or has determined that a specific incident in that country involved or likely involved the use of chemicals as weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemical. In accordance with resolution 2319 (2016), the mandate of the Mechanism will come to an end on 16 November 2017.

3. The Mechanism consists of an independent three-member panel together with a core staff of professionals selected on the basis of their expertise, taking into account geographical diversity and the equal participation of women and men. The Mechanism is headed by an Assistant Secretary-General, Edmond Mulet, with overall responsibility, and two deputies with responsibilities for investigative and political matters, respectively. Those three positions constitute the Leadership Panel of the Mechanism.

4. The Head of the Mechanism has continued to be supported by three components: the Investigative Office, the Political Office and the Planning and Operations Support Office. The Investigative Office is based in The Hague, Netherlands, and comprises two units: the Information Collection Unit and the Analysis and Corroboration Unit. The Political Office is based in New York, with a liaison officer in Damascus, and provides, interalia, political analysis, legal advice, liaison, and media and information management support. The Planning and Operations Support Office is based in New York and provides administrative, logistical and planning support to the political and investigative components.

5. While the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic works to establish the facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the country, it is not mandated to reach conclusions about attributing responsibility for chemical weapons use. 1 Following a determination by the FactFinding Mission that a specific incident in the Syrian Arab Republic involved or likely involved the use of chemicals as weapons, the Mechanism conducts an investigation to identify, to the greatest extent feasible, the perpetrators, organizers, sponsors or those otherwise involved. In conducting its investigation, the Mechanism relies on findings of the Fact-Finding Mission regarding the use of chemicals as weapons in each incident and pursues a rigorous independent examination of the available information surrounding such use so as to identify, to the greatest extent feasible, those responsible.

6. As indicated in the sixth report of the Mechanism, the position of the Leadership Panel remains that, if new information is provided regarding the four cases initially referred to in the third and fourth reports of the Mechanism (see S/2016/738/Rev.1 and S/2016/888), supplementary investigations may be undertaken. For the present report, the Mechanism focused on incidents that had occurred at Umm Hawsh on 15 and 16 September 2016 and at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.