Criminal Inquiries Loom Over al-Assad’s Use of Chemical Arms in SyriaInvestigations in France and Germany could lead to prosecutions of President Bashar al-Assad and members of his upper echelon over chemical weapons attacks, one of the Syrian war’s signature atroci… nytimes.com
PARIS — Chemical munitions experts have for years compiled information that Syria’s government has used these banned weapons against its own people, a war crime that so far has gone unpunished and been dismissed with a sneer by President Bashar al-Assad.
Now the first criminal inquiries that target Mr. al-Assad and his associates over the use of chemical weapons may soon get underway.
In a major step to hold Mr. al-Assad and his circle accountable for some of the worst atrocities committed in the decade-old Syria conflict, judges at a special war crimes unit in France’s palace of justice have received a complaint about chemical weapons attacks in Syria, filed by three international human rights groups.
The complaint, which lawyers said the judges would likely accept, requests a criminal investigation of Mr. al-Assad, his brother, Maher, and a litany of senior advisers and military officials that formed the chain of command.
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By JOBY WARRICK