Under penalty of death if ultimately tried and convicted, an Iraqi court Thursday issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump for ordering the assassination by drone strike at the Baghdad International Airport of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January of last year.
According to the Associated Press:
Al-Muhandis was the deputy leader of the state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group composed of an array of militias, including Iran-backed groups, formed to fight the Islamic State group.
Soleimani headed the expeditionary Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The arrest warrant was for a charge of premeditated murder, which carries the death penalty on conviction. It is unlikely to be carried out but symbolic in the waning days of Trump’s presidency.
On Tuesday, as Common Dreams reported, the Iranian government issued a “red notice” demand for the Europe-based Interpol service to arrest Trump as well as 47 other U.S. officials for their role in the killing of Soleimani.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is very seriously following up on pursuing and punishing those who ordered and executed this crime,” Gholamhossein Esmaili, a spokesperson for the Iranian judiciary, told reporters Tuesday.
Human rights advocates worldwide and legal experts at the United Nations have maintained that the murder of Soleimani, Al-Muhandis, and others in the U.S. bombing was a clear and outrageous violation of international law.
A Thursday statement released by Iraq’s Rusafa Investigative Court stated that the “judge responsible for investigating the assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and his colleagues issued an arrest warrant for outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump as per article 406 of Iraqi penal code.”
According to Rudaw News, Article 406 dictates that “the ‘willful’ killing of another person is punishable by death in many cases, including premeditated murder and the death of a public official or agent.”
As the fresh arrest warrant was issued in Iraq—largely symbolic unless the soon to be ex-president decides to travel to the country in the future—Trump is also facing domestic calls for his arrest, impeachment, or ouster from office after Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by a violent right-wing mob.