OPCW to be given power to name perpetrators of chemical attacks


The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will, in the future, be able to name who was responsible for chemical attacks after member countries voted on Wednesday to give the body new powers.
OPCW’s members, despite opposition from Russia and Syria, voted with a large majority for the change during a special session in The Hague after a motion was put forward on Tuesday by Western members.
The motion was carried by 82 votes to 26, with 42 abstentions.
Until now, the OPCW has been able to investigate whether and where chemical weapons were used, but not to name the perpetrators.
Following recent chemical attacks in Syria and Iraq and the poisoning of former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, Britain, on Tuesday, led the call for the OPCW to be given powers to assign blame for chemical attacks.
The motion was supported by around 30 states.
Russia and Syria opposed the extension of the OPCW’s mandate, with Russia saying it would damage the organisation’s neutrality.
Until November 2017, a joint committee of the United Nations (UN) and OPCW determined such blame, but its mandate was not extended due to a veto by Russia in the UN Security Council.


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