French judges have taken a significant step by issuing arrest warrants for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his brother Maher al-Assad, and two other senior officials.
These warrants are in response to their alleged roles in using banned chemical weapons against civilians, particularly in the 2013 chemical attacks in Douma and Eastern Ghouta, which resulted in over 1,000 fatalities.
This action marks the first international arrest warrant for Assad, accused of war crimes by U.N. experts. The charges include complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Mazen Darwish, a prominent lawyer and founder of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, underscored the importance of these warrants, especially regarding the Ghouta attack.
These warrants are rare, as sitting heads of state typically have immunity. However, exceptions exist for accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The warrants extend to Ghassam Abbas, director of Syria’s chemical weapons program, and Bassam al-Hassan, a top security official. Maher al-Assad is implicated as the head of the Fourth Armored Division.
This move by French judges underscores a growing international effort to hold Syrian officials accountable for their actions since 2011.