Chemical attacks "shock conscience of mankind" - Minister
Situation in Syria – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question for the government in the National Assembly
Paris, 14 February 2018
Yes, chemical proliferation, at the dawn of the 21st century, is killing innocent people. Yes, chemical proliferation is murdering civilians.
You recalled the events of August 2013, you recalled the events in Khan Sheikhoun in April last year. These findings were made by the United Nations commissions of inquiry. These attacks by a government on its civilian population shock the conscience of mankind. The attacks go against the whole body of the law of war and human rights established since the beginning of the 20th century.
Today the Security Council is hamstrung by a Russian veto on these issues. It’s why President Macron has decided on two serious measures. The first, confirmed yesterday, is to carry out military strikes on the regime’s installations, if Bashar al-Assad were to resort to further use of chemical weapons, when these attacks are shown to be lethal and the regime’s responsibility is proven.
The second is to make sure that whatever happens, and despite the permanent obstacles, these crimes do not go unpunished.
This is why France has organized a partnership to fight impunity for the use of chemical weapons, which is allowing us today to identify and draw up lists, and ensure that member states – and there are many – can prosecute these murderers, for as long as it takes./.