Just a quick note for now - Carla Del Ponte, part of one of many investigations in to Syria, and not as was claimed by some press the head of the CW investigation (who is in fact Ake Sellstrom - an extremely competent investigator, who would not have made such a ridiculous statement), has made the headlines with her claims that Syrian Rebels have used Sarin gas and there is no evidence of state use.
The UN appears equally surprised and issued a terse statement:
“Geneva, 6 May 2013—The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic wishes to clarify that it has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict. As a result, the Commission is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time.
The Chair of the Commission of Inquiry, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, reminds all parties to the conflict that the use of chemical weapons is prohibited in all circumstances under customary international humanitarian law.”
Del Ponte was basing her view off apparent reports from investigations and interviews in neighbouring countries. The sum total of her evidence? Some witness statements. Well that’s nice and reliable.
Really not what we need at the moment, and frankly calls her position in to serious question. If her judgement is so out of kilter on what will be a key aspect of Syrian investigations she should be replaced with someone less prone to making unsubstantiated claims that have huge repercussions and potential for causing international interventions.