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French investigative Judge issues international arrest warrants against Syrian officials

In October 2016, Obeida Dabbagh, FIDH and LDH filed a case before French Prosecutors in order to investigate and prosecute the arrest and enforced disappearance of Mazen and Patrick Abdelkader Dabbagh, two dual Syrian-French nationals. Mazen and Patrick—Obeida’s brother and nephew—were arrested and disappeared by members of the Syrian Airforce Intelligence in Damascus in November 2013.

Last summer, the Dabbagh family obtained documents from the Syrian government proving that Mazen and Patrick died in November 2017 and January 2014 respectively. This new piece of evidence encouraged the French investigative Judge in charge of the investigation, to issue international arrest warrants against three senior Syrian government and intelligence officials: Ali Mamlouk, Director of the National Security Bureau; Jamil Hassan, Head of Airforce Intelligence; and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, Head of the Air Force Intelligence Investigative Branch at Mezzeh Military Airport. German authorities had already issued an arrest warrant against Jamil Hassan in June 2018. These three officials would be facing charges of torture, enforced disappearance, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

This is an important step for Syrian victims in their struggle for justice. As the Republic of Syria is not a member of the Rome Statute —and as long as Russia and China impose their veto at the UN Security Council to refer the Syria situation— the ICC remains unable to initiate investigations into the Syrian conflict. In this context, the work of individual lawyers and organisations to prosecute international crimes before national courts, following principles of extraterritorial jurisdiction, becomes particularly important.

FIDH has published the following PRESS RELEASE

For more information about the case, please visit FIDH’s website at:

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