We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Syria and North Korea

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 18th April 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 4:13 pm, 18th April 2017

I well remember the right hon. Lady’s efforts in respect of Halabja, and she played a big part in hardening my heart against Saddam Hussein many years ago. She campaigned on the matter with great effect, and rightly so.

What we are doing today is supporting the OPCW’s expert fact-finding mission, and I have sketched out all we know about what happened on the morning of 4 April—the best evidence that we have so far—and I hope the House will believe that the evidence is very persuasive indeed. The fact-finding mission will now draw on a variety of sources, including samples from the victims, environmental samples, munition fragments, footage of the incident and its aftermath, and interviews with survivors, people who were first on the scene, medics and eye witnesses. The mission will be able to draw on signals intelligence, flight tracking, data analysis, meteorological information and other information that will be shared by us and other countries concerned.

Our experience is that such fact-finding missions are able to reach conclusions in very difficult circumstances and, going back to the point I made to Emily Thornberry, we need such information to create the evidential trail to the individuals responsible. There is good evidence already, and we will use what we have, when and where possible, not only to impose sanctions but to pursue prosecutions for war crimes.