Human Rights Watch has once again turned the spotlight on the use of chemical weapons in attacks in Syria, criticizing the international community’s inaction in addressing this issue.
In a dispatch published on Tuesday, the watchdog group said that the UN Security Council failed to make any significant progress in determining those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria or to refer them to the International Criminal Court.
“Russia has used its Security Council veto 11 times to shield its allies in Damascus from condemnation, sanctions or referral to the International Criminal Court,” HRW said.
In October, the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) found the Assad regime responsible for the April 2017 sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens and injured 400 others, mostly women and children. It also accused the regime of repeatedly using illegal chemical agents.
HRW stressed that UN members “should continue to fund other UN investigative teams established to investigate crimes in Syria and ferret out those responsible for the chemical attacks.”
“The Russian government should change course, and support UN Security Council in holding those responsible for chemical attacks accountable.”
“Most recently, Russia vetoed renewing a joint investigation of the UN and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), whose job it was to identify the culprits behind chemical attacks,” HRW added.
The Syrian Coalition described the UN Security Council’s failure to extend JIM’s work as “shameful” and “damaging the reputation of the United Nations.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)