|UN panel headed by Paulo Pinheiro falls flat in attempt to identify Syria chemical agents
UN investigators listed a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Syria, but did not provide a conclusion to the issue of chemical weapons use.
“On the evidence currently available, it was not possible to reach a finding about the chemical agents used, their delivery systems or the perpetrators,'' the team inquiring into human rights violations in Syria said in its latest report. The four-member panel is led by Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. (pictured)
It was clear however that “the majority of casualties result from unlawful attacks using conventional weapons,'' the Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in a statement.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad “have continued to conduct widespread attacks on the civilian population, committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance as crimes against humanity,'' according to the report, which covers the period from May 15 to July 15.
It also charged that anti-Assad groups had “committed war crimes,'' including murder, torture and hostage-taking.
Since the beginning of the year, the commission concluded that government-loyal forces were responsible for eight massacres, while opposition forces had committed one. Nine others were still under investigation.
The report does not address the period after July 15, which includes the August 21 suspected chemical attack on civilians near Damascus.
In Wednesday's statement though, the panel insisted on the “need for accountability, both to bring to justice those who used them [chemical weapons, if confirmed] ... and to deter anyone else from using these abhorrent methods of warfare.''
The commission, asked to investigate rights violations in Syria since shortly after the conflict erupted in March 2011, warned that the conflict in Syria, “has taken a dangerous turn.''
Thee investigators, who are set to present their findings to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, however rejected military action.