Ban: No impunity for chemical arms users

The use of chemical weapons in Syria was “only the tip of the iceberg,” Ban said, calling for an end to suffering in the war-torn country

Ban: No impunity for chemical arms users

World Bulletin/News Desk

“Syria is the biggest peace, security and humanitarian challenge we face,” Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday during a traditional press conference at the very start of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The head of the UN seemed quite aware of the fact that Syria could overshadow other global issues this time.

Although designated as the start of the new session of the UNGA, this year – to mark a “crucial period for global cooperation”, as Ban put it – the meeting with reporters ended with Syria dominating again.

- Syria on the top of the UN Agenda

Ban said the use of chemical weapons in Syria was “only the tip of the iceberg,” adding that the suffering in Syria must end.

“The international community is firm and I am firm that any perpetrators who have used these chemical weapons under any circumstances and on any pretext must be brought to justice. So, there should be a process of accountability.”

However, the UN Secretary General confessed that he was not sure of “how to promote this process.”

Ban added it “has to be discussed by the member states of the United Nations, particularly at the Security Council."

- ICC may look into war crimes in Syria

“Whether this should be referred to the ICC (International Criminal Court) or we should have another way of bringing perpetrators to justice - that has to be discussed,” Ban said, in response to a reporter’s question.

He went on to explain that “in fact, some member states suggested that kind of idea referring the perpetrators to the ICC, but all this has to be discussed.”

He added he would make himself available for such discussions in the very near future.

Ban also reiterated the UN's firm principle that “there is not impunity for anybody,” whoever might use chemical weapons in Syria.

On Monday, Ban confirmed world’s suspicions that chemical weapons were indeed used in Damascus on August 21st. He also said then, “Those perpetrators who have used chemical weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will have to be brought to justice.”

Ban said he would personally make a strong appeal for action to Member States when the UNGA gets underway next week.

The UN Secretary General announced that at least 131 heads of state or government would be in New York for the 68th session, one of the highest turnouts in United Nations history. At least 60 foreign ministers will join them, Ban said.

It is widely expected that the Syria crisis will widely dominate the UNGA general debate.

According to the official UNGA schedule, President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, will address the UN General Assembly immediately after US President Barack Obama, as a third head of state chosen to deliver remarks at the 68th Session of the UNGA.

 

Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2013, 09:39
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