According to The Guardian, three high-ranking Syrian officials are to go on trial in Paris on Tuesday. They are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In 2013, 20-year-old student Patrick Dabbagh was arrested by the Syrian army at his home in Damascus. Within 24-hours, the army returned for his 48-year-old father. Their fate remained unknown until 2018 when the Syrian government published their death certificates, according to The Guardian.

Ali Mamlouk, head of the Syrian secret services, Jamil Hassan, former head of the Syrian air force intelligence, and Abdel Salam Mahmoud, intelligence director at the notorious Mezzeh detention centre where father and son are believed to have been held, are accused of complicity in their deaths.

This represents the first time that such high-ranking Syrian officials with close links to the Assad family will be held accountable.

More than 15,000 Syrians are believed to have been tortured to death by the Syrian intelligence, whilst more than 112,000 people have been forcibly disappeared since 2011, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

Last November, France issued an international arrest warrant for Bashar Al-Assad, over his use of chemical weapons against civilians.

Three others, including Assad’s brother, were also indicted over the use of sarin gas in two attacks in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 people.

European countries have increasingly adopted the principle of universal justice, which empowers them to prosecute crimes against humanity and war crimes, regardless of the perpetrators nationality or location.