Abdel Salam Mahmoud
Investigation closed for international crimes committed in Syria in 2013
Type of jurisdiction
Abdel Salam Mahmoud, in charge of Air Force Intelligence at the Mezzeh military airport
Country of residence of suspect
Complicity in crimes against humanity; torture; enforced disappearances; war crimes
Investigation closed; international arrest warrants issued
In November 2013, Patrick Dabbagh and his father Mazen Dabbagh, both dual French-Syrian nationals, were arrested in their home in Damascus by Syrian Air Force Intelligence agents and detained for interrogation at the Mezzeh detention center. Neither one has been seen since. In summer 2018, the Dabbagh family received formal notification from the Syrian authorities that Patrick and Mazen Dabbagh had died. According to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the Mezzeh detention center has one of the highest mortality rates in Syria.
On 24 October 2016, a complaint was filed before the Paris Tribunal by Obeida Dabbagh, a Syrian- French national, on behalf of his nephew and brother, Mazen and Patrick Dabbagh, together with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member organization in France the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH).
In October 2018, in an unprecedented step towards accountability for crimes committed in Syria, French judges of the Specialized Unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture within the Paris Tribunal (integrated in 2019 within the newly created French National Anti-Terrorist Prosecution Office) issued international arrest warrants against Salam Mahmoud. Mahmoud, in charge of Air Force Intelligence at the Mezzeh military airport, is wanted on war crimes charges as well as complicity in crimes against humanity, torture and enforced disappearances.
Developments in 2022
On 31 March 2022, the investigative judges decided to close the ongoing judicial investigation. They are now awaiting the final opinion of the prosecutor, before deciding on the referral of the case to the criminal court. If the case is sent to trial, and if the suspect is not apprehended, he will be tried in absentia.