UN / CRIMES COMMITTED IN SYRIA

16-Apr-2018 00:01:55
Liechtenstein’s ambassador to the UN Christian Wenaweser told reporters today there was already a competent mechanism in place which could identify individuals who are “criminally responsible for the use of chemical weapons” in Syria. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / CRIMES COMMITTED IN SYRIA
TRT: 01:55
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 16 APRIL 2018, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
RECENT - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

16 APRIL 2018, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations:
“We have been among those, of course, who have been supportive of follow up action in the Security Council. We were also supportive of the continuation of the JIM mandate. That was not possible for the reasons that you know. But we have also emphasized at the same time consistently that it is not the case that there is no accountability mechanism in place. The IIIM is the mechanism that has the competence to investigate these crimes and also has the competence to identify individuals who are individually criminally responsible for the use of chemical weapons; which was not the case for the JIM or the other mechanisms proposed.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations:
“This is the type of situation for which the ICC was created. I mean we are not naïve, you know we are following what is going on in the Security Council. We are aware of that, but – you know – just giving up in light of that is not the right response.”
6. Med shot, journalist asking question
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the International Impartial Independent Mechanism Investigating Serious Crimes in Syria (IIIM):
“Yes, we have attempted to engage with the Syrian authorities and it is particularly important to do so. As you know, the crimes we are meant to investigate are crimes which have been reported to be committed by all sides. The Syrian authorities may well be in possession of information that would be extremely important to establish the existence of certain crimes. They may also be able to provide exculpatory material that we want to have in hand to do our job properly. To date, none of the attempts has been successful, but we will not take those lack of responses for an end to the question. We will continue to engage.”
8. Wide shot, press room
STORYLINE
Liechtenstein’s ambassador to the UN Christian Wenaweser told reporters today (16 Apr) there was already a competent mechanism in place which could identify individuals who are “criminally responsible for the use of chemical weapons” in Syria.

During a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Wenaweser said his delegation was supportive of follow up action on the use of chemical weapons in Syria at the Security Council but emphasized that it was “not the case that there is no accountability mechanism in place.” He the International Impartial Independent Mechanism Investigating Serious Crimes in Syria (IIIM) “is the mechanism that the competence to investigate these crimes and also has the competence to identify individuals who are individually criminally responsible for the use of chemical weapons; which was not the case for the JIM or the other mechanisms proposed.”

Asked why there was no current effort to establish a tribunal to investigate crimes in Syria, Wenaweser said people have not given up on the path to the International Criminal Court (ICC) adding, “This is the type of situation for which the ICC was created.” He said giving up on referring the crimes in Syria to the ICC was “not the right response” to the stall at the Security Council to do so and noted that the priority now was for the collection of evidence by the IIIM.

Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head of the IIIM, said the mechanism was mandated with collecting, consolidating, preserving, and analysing evidence of violations in Syria and also preparing files to facilitate and expediate criminal proceedings in national, regional, or international courts. She said the IIIM was handling an unprecedented amount of material and had included material from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria (COI) and the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM). Marchi-Uhel noted however that the IIIM would analyse all material independently and come to its own conclusions using criminal law standards.

The IIIM chief said the mechanism had attempted to engage with Syrian authorities several times adding that it was “particularly important to do so” as the crimes they were investigating “have been reported to be committed by all sides.” She said Syrian authorities “may well be in possession of information that would be extremely important to establish the existence of certain crimes.” She added they may also be able to provide “exculpatory material” that the mechanism wants to do its job “properly.” Marchi-Uhel noted that to date, “none of the attempts has been successful, but we will not take those lack of responses for an end to the question; we will continue to engage.”

The IIIM was established by the General Assembly in December 2016 to investigate serious crimes committed in the Syrian conflict. The General Assembly is expected to discuss the mechanism’s first report this Wednesday.
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