On 30 September, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accepted “full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia,” for the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but denied allegations of his complicity in this “heinous crime”. Ms. Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has strongly reacted to this statement. Madame Rapporteur stated that “the main implication of the recognition should be a formal acknowledgement, apologies and demonstration of non-repetition”.
On 26 June, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, presented her annual report that focuses on the investigation, accountability and prevention of intentional state killings of human rights defenders, journalists and prominent dissidents, including those who have sought safety abroad. Special Rapporteur Callamard underlined the paralysis of the UN system in regards to the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi “which is emblematic of a global pattern of targeted killings of journalists and media workers, as well as human rights defenders and political activists, that is regularly denounced by States and UN agencies”. Moreover, Madame Callamard accused the Kingdom authorities in the extrajudicial killing of Khashoggi and stated that “it is a result of elaborate planning involving extensive coordination and significant human and financial resources” and that ”there are credible evidence, warranting further investigation of 15 high-level Saudi Officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s and his key adviser”.
Special Rapporteur called to establish UN criminal investigation, identify mechanisms to deliver justice and claim universal jurisdiction on Khashoggi case as it constitutes an international crime and cannot be considered domestic matter only. Furthermore, she recommended conduct of study and establishment of prevention and accountability Special Procedures Task Force and a Standing Instrument for the Criminal Investigation into Allegations of Targeted Killing, or other acts of violence against journalists, human rights defenders or others targeted because of their peaceful activities or expressions. The Special Rapporteur concluded by saying that silence and inaction would further cause injustice and global instability.
In response, Saudi Arabia totally dismissed the accusations of the Special Rapporteur Callamard as based on non-credible sources and lack of knowledge on the Saudi efforts on Khashoggi case and denounced her disrespect of the mandate procedures and unprofessional work. The Saudi delegate reiterated the position of his Kingdom that persons are executed for the most serious crimes following trial in compliance with international standards. Moreover, the delegate strongly dismissed the international pressure on case of Khashoggi as unsupportive as the investigation of this crime is still ongoing.
Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties agrees that Khashoggi killingwas “premeditated execution as a result of elaborate planning involving extensive coordination and significant human and financial resources”. Moreover, we consider that the killing of Mr Khashoggi constitutes an international crime over which other States should claim universal jurisdiction due to six violations of international law: the prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of life, a fundamental principle of international law; the prohibition against extraterritorial use of force as enshrined in the UN Charter; the requirement that states use consular missions for official purposes; the prohibition against torture, under the terms of the Convention Against Torture, ratified by Saudi Arabia, andthe prohibition against enforced disappearance, the protection of freedom of expression.
See more on our advocacy activities in relation to Khashoggi case at http://genevacouncil.com/en/