French judiciary ratifies arrest warrant against Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian regime's president Bashar al-Assad (Edited by Enab Baladi)

The Syrian regime's president Bashar al-Assad (Edited by Enab Baladi)


The French judiciary today, Wednesday, June 26, ratified an arrest warrant against the president of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.

The France Press agency reported via “X”, quoting lawyers, that the French judiciary confirmed the warrant against al-Assad regarding chemical attacks in Syria.

Today, the Court of Appeal in the French capital, Paris, convened to decide whether to ratify or cancel the arrest warrant against the Syrian regime’s president, on charges of complicity in crimes against humanity.

On May 15, the Investigation Chamber looked into the request of the French National Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office to cancel this warrant in the name of the “personal immunity” that state presidents enjoy in their positions before foreign courts, according to the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Since 2021, an investigation by judges from the Unit for Crimes Against Humanity at the Paris Judicial Court has examined the command chain that led to chemical attacks on August 4 and 5, 2013, in Adra and Douma near Damascus, and the attack on the 21st of the same month in Eastern Ghouta, which resulted in the death of more than a thousand people.

The investigations led to the issuance of four arrest warrants in November 2023, on charges of complicity in crimes against humanity and complicity in war crimes.

The warrants at the time targeted, besides Bashar al-Assad, his brother Maher, and two brigadier generals: Ghassan Abbas, Director of Branch 450 of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, and Bassam Hassan, al-Assad’s advisor for strategic affairs and liaison officer between the Presidential Palace and the Research Center.

International criminal law attorney al-Mutassim al-Kilani said, “If the French Court of Appeal ratifies the arrest warrant against Bashar al-Assad, it will be a historic precedent that breaks all rules, procedures, and the concept of immunity enjoyed by heads of state. It will then be the first arrest warrant issued by a foreign court against a sitting head of state.”

Al-Kilani told Enab Baladi that the ratification of the arrest warrant means that the French judiciary will try Bashar al-Assad in absentia, as happened with Ali Mamlouk and the other officers involved in the Dabbagh case, noting that the trial of al-Assad in absentia will not take place until the second half of 2026 or likely in 2027, due to the pre-scheduled trials related to war crimes and crimes against humanity until mid-2026, with three such trials taking place each year in France.


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