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Survivors of Chemical Attacks in Syria File Complaint as U.N. Blocks Testimony of Former Head of OPCW

HeadlineOct 06, 2020

Survivors of chemical weapons attacks in Syria have filed a criminal complaint in Germany accusing the Syrian government of killing more than 1,400 people in two separate attacks, one in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta in 2013 and another in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in 2017.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the United States, Britain and France blocked the former head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, from testifying Monday. José Bustani was slated to read a statement about a possible internal OPCW cover-up of a chemical attack in Douma, Syria, in 2018. The OPCW and the Trump administration have blamed the Syrian government for the attack, but leaked documents show two OPCW investigators have questioned the official findings. The U.S. bombed Syria days after the alleged attack. After Bustani was barred from testifying at the Security Council, he recorded a video reading his prepared remarks.

José Bustani: “If the OPCW is confident in the robustness of its scientific work on Douma and in the integrity of the investigation, then it should have little to fear in hearing out its inspectors. If, however, the claims of evidence suppression, selective use of data and exclusion of key investigators, among other allegations, are not unfounded, then it’s even more imperative that the issue be dealt with openly and urgently.”

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