Yesterday, the UK, US, Germany, France, Belgium & Estonia all tried to block the testimony of Jose Bustani, the first director general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at a UN Security Council briefing in New York City. His contribution was to be on the subject of eliminating chemical weapons in Syria, the OPCW’s work in general and about the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, in April 2018.
The current president of the UN Security Council, Russia’s representative Vassily Nebenzia, who had invited the former head of OPCW to participate in the meeting, decided that he would read out Bustani’s statement anyway. In this statement, Bustani reveals some rather concerning details…
• Bustani claims he was removed from office following an orchestrated campaign by the US in 2002 because he was fighting to uphold the chemical weapons convention.
• For Bustani, there is now a question as to whether the independence, impartiality and professionalism of some of the OPCW’s work is being seriously compromised as a result of pressure from certain member states.
• Bustani points out that a number of the OPCW scientists and engineers involved in the investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria, in April 2018 have expressed serious concerns over the OPCW’s handling of the incident and have even provided documentary evidence of what they believe to be “highly questionable and potentially fraudulent conduct in the investigative process”
• He then implores the current director general of the OPCW to meet with OPCW inspectors, the scientists and engineers, who’s views, in Bustani’s opinion, are untainted by politics or national interests. He asks that they “be given the opportunity to meet with you, to express their concerns to you in person.. hearing what your own inspectors have to say would be an important first step in mending the organisations damaged reputation”
• Bustani then points out that refusing to listen to OPCW’s own Inspectors only adds weight to the concerns that have been raised around “evidence suppression, selective use of data and exclusion of key investigators, among other allegations”