The OPCW Executive Council Should Have Made Recommendations to the Security Council Rather Than Giving the Syrian Regime 90 Days
BY: AP / Peter Dejong
I. The Syrian Regime Has Massively Exceeded the Level of Non-Compliance to the Point of Repeated, Deliberate and Measured Planning and Use of Chemical Weapons
On Thursday, July 9, 2020, The Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adopted a decision after discussing the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), in which it confirmed the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in Latamena city in Hama suburbs three times, two of which were carried out by the use of sarin gas.
Although the decision condemned the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, and affirmed the regime’s total failure to declare and destroy its chemical weapons, it – that is, the decision – resorted to paragraph 36 of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention and chose to give the Syrian regime 90 days to redress the situation, requesting that the Syrian regime declare the procedures by which chemical weapons were developed and produced, declare all the weapons it possesses, and resolve all of the outstanding issues.
However, paragraph 36 of Article VIII talks about situations where there are doubts, concerns, or cases of non-compliance, and we in the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) believe that the Syrian regime has already massively exceeded the level of doubts and cases of non-compliance, to the point of repeatedly using chemical weapons deliberately and in a planned manner, and accordingly urge all the states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Executive Council and decision makers worldwide to remember a very important point:
“On January 4, 2016, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had announced that the last substance of the Syrian chemical weapons (75 cylinders of hydrogen fluoride) had been destroyed, while the chemical attacks in Latamena had taken place 14 months later, constituting new evidence of the extent of the misleading and deception that the Syrian regime has practiced against the international community and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, including the Executive Council.”