The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - July 10, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Syria – Publication of the special investigation report by the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

◢  Syria / Chemical weapons – Adoption of a decision by the OPCW Executive Council on the use of chemical weapons par le Syrian regime (July 9, 2020)

 
Syria – Publication of the special investigation report by the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

France welcomes the publication, on July 7, 2020, of the special report by the International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic focusing on the violations of international humanitarian law in Idlib, requested by the Human Rights Council.

This independent report underscores the responsibility of the pro-government forces in Syria for acts that may constitute war crimes during the recent offensive by the Syrian regime and Russia in Idlib. This notably relates to deliberate attacks by Syrian and Russian air forces against health care workers and medial and civilian infrastructure.

The Commission of Inquiry also underscores that the indiscriminate bombing by pro-government forces, and the massive forced displacement of nearly one million civilians that it triggered, could amount to a crime against humanity.

This report also shows that the UN-designated terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, was responsible for several acts that may constitute war crimes, notably including extrajudicial executions, inhuman and degrading treatment, acts of torture and looting.

France reiterates in the strongest terms its condemnation of these acts and the policy of terror employed by pro-government forces and terrorist organizations in Syria. These crimes must not go unpunished. France is resolutely committed to achieving this goal in close cooperation with its international partners and, in this respect, supports the Commission and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism.



Syria / Chemical weapons – Adoption of a decision by the OPCW Executive Council on the use of chemical weapons par le Syrian regime (July 9, 2020)

France welcomes yesterday's adoption by the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of a Decision Addressing the Possession and Use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic, a text it had presented on behalf of 40 delegations.

The Executive Council's decision lauds the work carried out by the OPCW's Investigation and Identification Team, whose first report concluded that Syrian air force units used chemical weapons in Ltamenah, Syria, in March 2017. It condemns violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention and notably Syria's use of those prohibited weapons. It urges Syria to comply with its obligations under penalty of collective actions that could be adopted at the Conference of the States Parties in November 2020.

It is now up to Syria to cooperate with the OPCW's Technical Secretariat and to redress the situation within the reasonable time frame specified in this decision. The next Conference of the States Parties will have to take the measures called for by Syria's response to the Technical Secretariat by that time.

By adopting this decision, the members of the OPCW Executive Council reaffirm that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable regardless of the place, time, perpetrator and circumstances.

France reiterates its steadfast position against the use of chemical weapons and its support for punishing the perpetrators of chemical attacks. It was in this spirit that in 2018 France launched the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons.



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