The release of the UN report into the use of chemical weapons in Syria might seem to have been overtaken by events.
While the team of inspectors were investigating whether banned weapons had been used in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria not only admitted having chemical weapons but informally agreed on a deal to join the international ban on their use and to have the international community destroy its stockpile.
But this must not mean that the UN report is now reduced to an academic exercise. As the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said as he submitted the report to the Security Council, this was a war crime.
"There must be accountability for the use of chemical weapons," he said. "Any use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, is a crime."
Although the remit of the UN inspectors was whether chemical weapons were used, not who was responsible, the evidence that emerges from the report points inevitably towards the Assad regime, from the trajectory of the rockets coming from government-held areas to the Cyrillic text on the recovered rocket fragments that tested positive for sarin residue.
While the prospect of military strikes on Syrian government targets, intended to send a message about using chemical weapons and to degrade regime capacity to do so again, has receded, the international community can not and must not step back from prosecuting those responsible for the 21st century's worst use of weapons of mass destruction.
As with most aspects of the Syrian conflict, the complexities render it difficult to make a decision without unintended consequences. By agreeing to give up his chemical weapons, for example, Bashar Al Assad has created an argument that his regime should remain in place until the stockpile is destroyed, which at the most optimistic forecast will not be until well into next year.
As Mr Ban said, those responsible for the deaths must face justice, but the question of how remains unclear.
"How to do [this] ... will the subject of ongoing discussions in the Security Council," he said. "But at this time, I do not have a clear answer."
The 1,400-plus victims of Ghouta deserve better than that - as do the thousands killed on a monthly basis by other weapons. And so do the future victims of other dictators who will be looking at Syria and asking if the international community has the strength of its convictions about prosecuting those who kill innocents with weapons of mass destruction.