WORLD

UN says Saudi Arabia responsible of Khashoggi murder

This file photo shows Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, visiting the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul to examine the investigation on the murder Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (DHA Photo)

A UN report on Wednesday said the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi "constituted an extrajudicial killing" for which "Saudi Arabia is responsible."

There is "credible evidence" linking Saudi Arabia's crown prince to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October, an independent UN rights expert said Wednesday, calling for an international investigation.

In a fresh report, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard said she had "determined that there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials' individual liability, including the Crown Prince's."

The report stressed that "no conclusion is made as to guilt. The only conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further investigation, by a proper authority, as to whether the threshold of criminal responsibility has been met."

Callamard said for instance that she had found evidence that "Khashoggi was himself fully aware of the powers held by the Crown Prince, and fearful of him."

She urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to launch an official international criminal investigation into the case, which she said 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 FBI in the United States, where Khashoggi was a resident, to open an investigation into the case, if it has not already done so, "and pursue criminal prosecutions within the United States, as appropriate."

For her investigation, Callamard said that, among other things, she had viewed CCTV footage from inside the consulate of the killing itself.

The report identified by name the 15 people she said were part of the mission to kill Khashoggi, and suggested that many of them were not on the list of 11 unnamed suspects facing a closed-door trial over the murder, and five could face the death penalty.

Wednesday's 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," she said in the report.

Callamard noted limitations on her inquiry, which began in January. She received no response to her request to travel to Saudi Arabia. She wrote that she had received only a total of 45 minutes of tapes recorded within the consulate around the time of the killing, while Turkish intelligence had referenced some 7 hours of recordings.

The report offers gruesome, nearly minute-by-minute accounting of the events surrounding the killing, and cites sounds of a buzzing saw that could have been used to dismember Khashoggi's body.

The U.S. State Department has publicly designated 16 people for their roles in the killing of Khashoggi. Many U.S. lawmakers have criticized President Donald Trump for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the journalist's killing.

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