Judges of a French court issued arrest warrants for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, his brother Maher al-Assad, and two other senior officials over the use of banned chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.
According to reports, these arrest warrants are related to a criminal investigation into chemical attacks in the town of Douma and the district of Eastern Ghouta in August 2013. More than 1000 people were killed in these attacks.
It is the first international arrest warrant that has been issued for the Syrian head of state. These are also the first international arrest warrants that have been issued over the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta.
Syria denies using chemical weapons. However, a joint inquiry of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin in an April 2017 attack and has repeatedly used chlorine as a weapon.
The Syrian president started a brutal crackdown on people opposed to him in 2011, which according to UN experts amounts to war crimes.
The International Criminal Court currently has two arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.