14 potential chemical attacks in Syria: UN

14 potential chemical attacks in Syria: UN
Mon Sep 16, 2013 18:43:21

UN investigators know of 14 potential chemical attacks in Syria since they began monitoring human rights abuses in the country in September 2011.

"We are investigating 14 alleged cases of chemical weapons or chemical agent use. But we have not established the responsibility or the nature of the materials that were used," Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria told a news conference on Monday.

"We don't have to share where, or when, or what moment. We don't have to elaborate more on that."

Pinheiro also said Syria had invited commission member Carla del Ponte to visit Syria in a personal capacity, but the commission wanted an official visit, including him.

The commission's lead members were speaking after presenting their latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and shortly before UN chemical weapons inspectors present their report to the UN Secretary General in New York.

While the weapons inspectors may confirm the use of a chemical weapon, it is up to the Commission of Inquiry to try to find out who was responsible and bring them to justice.

Without having access to the country, they gather information from witness testimony and try to verify and crosscheck reports from inside Syria.

"I think that the report from the special experts on the use of chemical weapons will be a big step for us, forward in our investigation," Del Ponte said.

"But for sure we must enter Syria, to have a proper, judicial, formal investigation on that and to know exactly who was using chemical weapons."


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