Syria chemical weapons investigations proceeding "objectively, impartially"

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Head of the Security Council Joint Investigative Mechanism on Chemical Weapon Use in Syria Briefs Press following Security Council consultations on the Middle East (Syria). UN Photo/Mark Garten

The head of an independent joint investigative panel examining the use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war, told the UN Security Council that it was proceeding "objectively, impartially" with its work.

Edmund Mulet leads the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, known as the JIM.

The JIM has a unique mandate from the Council "to identify to the greatest extent feasible, perpetrators who use chemical weapons" in Syria.

Matt Wells has more.

Mr Mulet, flanked by his two colleagues on the panel, told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, following their sixth briefing to the Security Council, that it was "indisputable" Syrian civilians had died due to "inhumane" chemical weapons deployment.

He said the JIM was currently investigating two incidents where the OPCW Fact Finding Mission had determined such weapons had been used, namely April's attack in Khan Shaykhoun, and an attack in Um Hosh, north of Aleppo, last September.

He promised a "thorough investigation" into the alleged crimes, highlighting the difficulty of gathering evidence in a war zone.

Mr Mulet acknowledged that the JIM found itself in what he called a "highly politicized environment".

"My message to the Council today was, please let us do our work, we have a highly professional team, we are going to do this in a very independent manner, objectively, impartially, and we will present our results in October."

He added that some Member States were prepared to assign responsibility for attacks before the evidence had been gathered, accusing both the Syrian government and opposition forces of being the perpetrators.

"I'm not going one way or the other. We will do our work and our findings in the end, based on facts and on science, will determine who is responsible for this."

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'16"

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