A Paris court upheld an arrest warrant issued for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad regarding the use of banned chemical weapons against civilians, according to one of the lawyers involved in the initial case. The warrant, issued by French judges in November 2023, includes charges of complicity in crimes against humanity and complicity in war crimes. This follows a French investigation into chemical attacks in Douma and Eastern Ghouta in August 2013, which resulted in over 1,000 deaths. Prosecutors, tasked with enforcing the warrant, had questioned its validity, arguing that Assad, as a current head of state, enjoys immunity from trial in France. 'Today marks a significant day and a historic triumph, not just for Syrian victims but for all victims globally,' stated Mazen Darwish, leader of the Syrian Center for Media & Freedom of the Press. 'The court’s ruling reinforces our stance that immunity should not apply when dealing with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the use of chemical weapons.' Assad's administration has consistently denied using chemical weapons in the civil war that began in March 2011. Syrian authorities have yet to respond to the Court of Appeal's decision on Wednesday. Arrest warrants for current heads of state are uncommon due to their general immunity from prosecution. However, international law makes exceptions for heads of state accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. France permits the filing of crimes against humanity cases in its courts. 'This decision clarifies that international immunity rules cannot equate to impunity, especially for the gravest international crimes,' commented Steve Kostas, senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative, in response to the verdict.