Assad issued with international arrest warrant

A French court issued an international arrest warrant for Syrian strongman Bashar Al-Assad on November 15, reports British newspaper The Guardian.

The world leader was accused of being complicit in crimes against humanity and chemical attacks back in 2013 according to those at the forefront of the case. These crimes have been under investigation since 2021. 

A decade ago, sarin gas attacks caused the deaths of around 1,400 people just outside of Syrian capital Damascus. 

Three other international warrants were also issued for the arrests of Assad’s brother Maher, the head of the Fourth Division, Syrian army’s elite military unit, and two generals. 

The legal complaint was filed by the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) , lawyers’ association Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the Syrian Archive, a human rights organisation in the country. 

READ: Duplicitous West puts Assad in Hague for torture trial

Regarding the Assad case, SCM chief Mazin Darwish noted, “An independent jurisdiction is recognising that the chemical attack couldn’t have happened without the knowledge of the Syrian president, that he has responsibility and should be held accountable,”. 

Steve Kostas of the Open Society Justice Initiative said, “This is a historic moment — with this case, France has an opportunity to establish the principle that there is no immunity for the most serious international crimes, even at the highest level,”   

Syria has overseen a bloody civil war which originally broke out in 2011 as a result of the Syrian President’s brutal clampdown of peaceful pro-democracy protests. The decade-long conflict has caused the fleeing of millions of nationals from the country, migrating to either neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, which is home to 1.5 million Syrians, or the European continent. 

Between 470,000 and 600,000 are believed to have been killed due to the fighting.

Should Assad be found guilty, it would be the first time that a sitting head of state is facing international legal sanctions for crimes against humanity. 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant to Vladimir Putin, a key Assad ally, back in March for the Russian invasion of Ukraine which was first carried out in February 2022. 

Syria’s government commented on the case and have denied all claims of wrongdoing. 

The Guardian

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