Letter dated 23 June 2017 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council
I have the honour to convey herewith the sixth 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
Letter dated 23 June 2017 from the Head and the members of 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 sixth report pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2235 (2015) and 2319 (2016).
(Signed) Edmond Mulet
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism
(Signed) Judy Cheng-Hopkins
(Signed) Stefan Mogl
Sixth report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism
1. The present sixth report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2235 (2015) and 2319 (2016), covers the period following the fifth report (S/2017/131), from 11 February 2017 to 22 June 2017.
2. As set forth in Security Council 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 an OPCW fact-finding mission determines or has determined that a specific incident in the Syrian Arab Republic involved or likely involved the use of chemicals as weapons, including chlorine or any other toxic chemical. In accordance with Security Council resolution 2319 (2016), the mandate of the Mechanism will come to an end on 16 November 2017.
3. On 25 April 2017, the President of the Security Council informed the Secretary-General (see S/2017/355) that the members of the Security Council had taken note of the intention expressed in the letter dated 21 April from the Secretary-General (S/2017/354) to appoint Edmond Mulet (Guatemala) as the new Head of the Leadership Panel of the Mechanism. He assumed his functions on 1 May, and Stefan Mogl (Switzerland) and Judy Cheng-Hopkins (Malaysia) joined as members of the Leadership Panel on 2 May and 15 June, respectively. The Head of the Panel has overall responsibility for the work of the Mechanism, including its direction, supervision and management.
4. The Leadership Panel is supported by three components: the Political Office and the Planning and Operations Support Office in New York and the Investigative Office in The Hague, Netherlands. The Investigative Office is composed of two units: the Information Collection Unit and the Analysis and Corroboration Unit. As noted in the Mechanism’s fifth report, these two dedicated, complementary units were established to enhance the working methods of the Investigative Office. In addition, the Mechanism is working to redeploy a liaison officer to Damascus.
5. The Mechanism continues to implement its mandate in accordance with the methods of work outlined in its previous reports. During the first phase (information collection and planning for case development), the Mechanism reviews and analyses data, collects relevant information and elaborates an investigation plan. On the basis of the analysis carried out during the first phase and the report of the fact-finding mission, the Leadership Panel takes a decision as to whether the Mechanism will conduct an in-depth investigation into a particular incident. The second phase (case investigation) commences thereafter, during which the Mechanism undertakes an in-depth analysis of the information obtained by the fact-finding mission and from other sources, and conducts field visits and witness interviews as necessary. The second phase continues until the Mechanism is satisfied that it has gathered and assessed all information that it can obtain and, on that basis, presents its findings to the Security Council.
6. With respect to the findings of the Leadership Panel regarding the four cases referred to in the Mechanism’s third and fourth reports (S/2016/738/Rev.1 and S/2016/888), if new information is provided, supplementary investigations may be undertaken to identify additional actors who were perpetrators, sponsors, organizers or otherwise involved. In the absence of additional information and noting the current time frame for investigations, the Mechanism is focusing on new cases identified by the fact-finding mission.