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GFI Executive-in-Residence, Bruno Jochum, Discusses the Use of Chemical Weapons in Syria on RSI

On 16 April 2018, Mr Bruno Jochum, GCSP Executive-in-Residence and former General Director of Médecins sans Frontières Switzerland, was interviewed by Swiss Italian Television on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

During his interview, Mr Jochum affirms that the attack in Douma on 11 April was not an isolated instance. He affirms that, during his time in Syria, he was repeatedly confronted with having to treat patients suffering from injuries caused by chemical weapons. While he acknowledges that the biggest chemical weapons attack happened in 2013, he does emphasise the fact that there are many more of different scales, including the attack in early April. In light of this, he questions the raid on Damascus as untimely: why act only now? He believes more is at play, not just the protection of civilians. Perhaps, he says, there is a need to demonstrate that some aspects of Public International Law are still in place. He assesses that the raid conducted by the US, UK and France was conducted to set some boundaries, and reminds that Syrian civilians were not harmed by the “surgical strikes”. As a concluding thought, Mr Jochum argues that the Syrian conflict has been filled with violations such as war crimes or torture, at all levels: arguing now that we draw the line at the use of chemical weapons, as desired by the international community, would be like saying that everything below the level of chemical weapons is allowed.

Read article in Italian