France Begins First War Crimes Trial of Syrian Officials


France has opened its first trial into officials from the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad with three top security officers tried in absentia for complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes. 

The Paris Criminal Court was on May 21 hearing the cases against the officials for their alleged role in the deaths of two French Syrian men, Mazzen Dabbagh and his son Patrick, who were arrested in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in 2013. 

Ali Mamlouk, former head of Syria’s National Security Bureau, Jamil Hassan, former director of the Air Force intelligence service, and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, former head of investigations for the service in Damascus, are subject to international arrest warrants and will be tried in absentia. 

“For the first time, French courts will address the crimes of the Syrian authorities and will try the most senior members of the authorities to ever be prosecuted since the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011,” said the International Federation for Human Rights. 

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