We progress in the efforts to end impunity for attacks on the Syrian civilian population - 7 August 2015 [fr]
Adoption of resolution 2235 establishing a mechanism to identify perpetrators of chlorine attacks in Syria - Explanation of vote by Mr. Alexis Lamek, Deputy Representative of France to the United Nations, Chargé d’affaires a.i. - Security Council - 7 August 2015
I would like to thank the United States delegation for introducing today’s resolution 2235 (2015), establishing a Mechanism to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The adoption of the resolution is important for several reasons. First, it enables the Security Council to find some unity on Syria during a conflict, the worst since the twenty-first century began, that has lasted more than four years. The Council could not remain silent in the face of the fact that despite two resolutions (2118 (2013) and 2209 (2015)) condemning them, hideously cruel chemical attacks continued to occur repeatedly in Syria in 2014 and 2015. Several investigations by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague have confirmed cases of the use of chlorine gas in Syria, but without a mandate they could not identify the perpetrators of the attacks. But the investigations contained disturbing details about the systematic presence of helicopters during the attacks, and we know very well which party to the conflict is the only one with that kind of capacity. The Joint Investigative Mechanism we have set up today will enable us to authorize a neutral and independent body to establish who has been responsible for the chemical attacks in Syria in the past few years. It will work in close cooperation with the OPCW.
Our vote for this Investigative Mechanism is also important because it marks progress in the efforts to end impunity for attacks on the Syrian civilian population. We will be able to identify the perpetrators of these particularly grave crimes. Without that fear of justice, the criminals in Syria who are using these inhumane weapons can rest easy in the certainty that they will not have to answer for their crimes. In April several doctors came to testify at an Arria Formula meeting of the Security Council. Their stories, and the images they showed at that time of children asphyxiated by chlorine, still haunt us. We all understood that we owed it to them and to those who gave us their testimonies to respond.
Finally, this vote is important because it sends a clear message of deterrence to all the parties to the Syrian conflict. These inhumane attacks must stop. The conflict has killed more than 230,000 people, most of them civilians. Beyond the chemical attacks, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks on civilians have continued, such as those happening now in Zabadani, in violation of international humanitarian law and Council resolutions. It is crucial that we commit to ending the violence in Syria and resuming the dialogue and political process as soon as possible. In that regard, we are giving our full support to the ongoing efforts of the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura. For all those reasons France sponsored today’s resolution and voted in favour of it.