An independent United Nations rights expert says there is “credible evidence” suggesting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials are liable for the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October.
“It is the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,” UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard said in her report on Wednesday based on a six-month investigation.
“There is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s,” she said.
“Indeed, this human rights inquiry has shown that there is sufficient credible evidence regarding the responsibility of the crown prince demanding further investigation,” Callamard added, urging UN Secretary-General António Guterres to establish an international probe.
The probes conducted so far by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, she noted, have “failed to meet international standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths.”
Callamard further highlighted that an official international criminal investigation into Khashoggi’s murder would make it possible to “build up strong files on each of the alleged perpetrators and identify mechanisms for formal accountability, such as an ad hoc or hybrid tribunal.”
She also called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States, where Khashoggi was a resident, to probe the case, if it has not already done so, “and pursue criminal prosecutions within the United States, as appropriate.”
Callamard went on to say that she had viewed CCTV footage from inside the consulate for her investigation.
Her report also found that there was evidence that “Saudi Arabia deliberately used consular immunity to stall Turkey’s investigations until the crime scene could be thoroughly cleaned.”
“In view of my concerns regarding the fairness of the trial of the 11 suspects in Saudi Arabia, I call for the suspension of the trial,” Callamard said in the report.
Moreover, the report identified by name the 15 people who were part of the mission to kill Khashoggi. It also suggested that many of them were not on the list of 11 unnamed suspects facing a closed-door trial over the murder.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of the Saudi crown prince, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
Riyadh initially said it had no knowledge of his fate, but later blamed the murder on rogue agents.