Syria’s Assad should be tried: France foreign minister


PARIS 23 May (Online): Syrian President Bashar Assad should be put on trial following “hundreds of thousands of deaths” and “chemical arms use” during the country’s civil war, the French foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Asked during a television interview if she wanted Assad to be tried, Catherine Colonna said “the answer is yes,” adding that “the battle against crime, against impunity is part of French diplomacy.”
Assad last week returned to the regional scene with an appearance at a summit of the Arab League, an international organization he had been banned from for a decade.
Colonna nevertheless said Paris would not be changing its policy toward the Syrian ruler.
“We have to remember who Bashar Assad is. He’s a leader who has been the enemy of his own people for more than 10 years,” she said.
A lifting of European Union sanctions on the Syrian regime was “certainly not” planned, she added.
“So long as he doesn’t change, so long as he doesn’t commit to reconciliation, to the fight against terrorism, the fight against drugs… so long as he doesn’t fulfil his commitments, there’s no reason to change our attitude toward him,” Colonna said.
“I think it’s up to him to change, it’s not up to France to change our attitude,” she added.