France has issued an arrest warrants for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, his brother Maher, military generals Ghassan Abbas and Bassam al-Hassan over the alleged use of banned chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.
According to CNN report, A Judicial sources reveal that four warrants were issued for complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes.
It marks the first time a sitting head of state faces such charges from another nation.
An Interpol ‘Red Notice’ is anticipated, requiring global law enforcement to locate and apprehend the accused.
An Interpol ‘Red Notice’ is expected to follow, according to Michael Chammas, a Syrian lawyer with knowledge of the case, who spoke to CNN from Germany.
A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest someone pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action, according to Interpol.
The legal case was brought forward by the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the Syrian Archive in March 2021 “over the use of banned chemical weapons against civilians in the town of Douma and the district of Eastern Ghouta in August 2013, in attacks which killed more than 1,000 people,” the plaintiffs said in a statement Wednesday.
The Syrian government was accused of using poison gas in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, then a rebel stronghold that the regime had been desperately trying to take back for more than a year. It in turn accused opposition forces of carrying out the attacks themselves.
Lawyer Mazen Darwish, founder and director-general of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), said in a statement Wednesday that the decision “constitutes a historic judicial precedent.”
The Syrian government has long been accused of war crimes, but it has repeatedly insisted its strikes target “terrorists.” It has denied using chemical weapons.
“We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history,” Assad said in 2017. He added that “morally” the Syrian government would never do this “because it’s not acceptable.”