UN Expert Says Saudi Crown Prince Responsible In Jamal Khashoggi Murder
“There is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s.”
“Mr. Khashoggi’s killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible. His attempted kidnapping would also constitute a violation under international human rights law,” began a report by Agnes Callamard, United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings.
“The killing of Mr. Khashoggi further constituted a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (thereafter VCCR) and of the prohibition against the extra-territorial use of force in time of peace (customary law and UN Charter),” the explosive report continued – the culmination of a six-month investigation.
“In killing a journalist, the State of Saudi Arabia also committed an act inconsistent with a core tenet of the United Nations, the protection of freedom of expression. As such, it can be credibly argued that it used force extra-territorially in a manner ‘inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations,'” added the report.
The Murder Of Jamal Khashoggi
Turkish sources told Reuters they believe Khashoggi lost his life due to his critique of the Saudi government, especially Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), as Citizen Truth reported in October 2018.
Special Rapporteur Callamard would specifically blame MBS in her report determining, “…there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s.”
She warned against a disproportionate emphasis on identifying who ordered the crime, pointing out that the search for justice and accountability is not singularly dependent on finding a smoking gun and the person holding it. She would go on to add, “…both the investigations conducted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey failed to meet international standards regarding the investigation into unlawful deaths.”
The official UN investigation also detailed a pattern of violence against journalists:
“The execution of Mr. Khashoggi is also emblematic of another pattern which, albeit less frequent than the killing of journalists, is no less serious. That is the pattern of extraterritorial threat or use of force, outside an armed conflict situation, by one State against people located on the territory of another State, resulting in human rights violations, including extrajudicial killing, kidnapping and rendition that may result in torture, imprisonment, disappearance and death. Other resulting violations may also include violations of freedom of expression or the right to privacy. Fleeing abroad in search of safety has become less and less a reliable form of protection.”
What The Investigation Found
“On 1 October 2018, Citizen Lab, a Canadian academic research lab, reported that the cellphone of Saudi political activist Omar Abdulaziz had been infected with Pegasus spyware which is produced and sold by NSO Group,” said Callamard’s report which also went on to detail the Saudi Arabian government’s surveillance of critics.
“At the time his phone was infected, Mr. Abdulaziz was in frequent contact with Mr. Khashoggi. The two discussed human rights issues in Saudi Arabia and projects to strengthen human rights in their homeland. In some messages, Mr. Khashoggi also criticized the policies of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”
Recordings heard by Callamard reveal conversations leading up to Khashoggi entering the Turkish consulate that paint a picture of a team planning to do harm to the journalist.
“At 13:02, inside the Consulate, Mr. Mutreb and Dr. Tubaigy had a conversation just minutes before Mr. Khashoggi entered. Mr. Mutreb asked whether it will ‘be possible to put the trunk in a bag?’ Dr. Tubaigy replied ‘No. Too heavy.’ He expressed hope that it would ‘be easy. Joints will be separated. It is not a problem. The body is heavy. First time I cut on the ground. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished. We will wrap each of them.’ ‘Leather bags.’ There was a reference to cutting skin. Dr. Tubaigny also expressed concerns: ‘My direct manager is not aware of what I am doing. There is nobody to protect me.’ At the end of the conversation, Mr. Mutreb asked whether ‘the sacrificial animal’ has arrived. At 13:13, a voice said ‘he has arrived.’ In these recordings heard by the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Khashoggi’s name was not mentioned.”
The Special Rapporteur later detailed the multiple crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in the murdering of Khashoggi:
“Mr. Khashoggi’s killing occurred in the Consul General’s office with the involvement of at least some people who had diplomatic immunity. This State act constituted a gross and egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) and stymied efforts on the part of Turkey to investigate the crime. Using a consulate to kill and hide the crime undoubtedly violated Turkey’s rights under the VCCR, but it also undermined core principles critical to the functioning of international relations.”
At the writing of this article, the Saudi royal family has not officially commented on the report.