The UN alleges that Saudi Arabia’s investigation into the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi does not meet international standards.
United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, who is leading the investigations into Khashoggi’s murder, on Thursday called on Saudi Arabia to reveal the names and charges of the defendants and the fate of 10 people initially arrested, denouncing what she called the lack of transparency in the investigation and judicial proceedings.
“The Saudi Arabian government is seriously mistaken if it thinks that the procedures, as they are currently constituted, will satisfy the international community, both in terms of compliance with standards and the validity of its conclusions,” Callamard said in a statement.
The current process contravenes international human rights norms according to which the right to a fair trial involves the right to a public hearing, the text reads.
“Contrary to what Saudi Arabia defends, this is not an internal matter, since it was a murder in a foreign territory,” warned the rapporteur, who stressed that therefore the process “must meet international standards, which demands the highest levels of transparency and fairness.
High-ranking Saudi officials are “criminally responsible” if they do not investigate and prosecute those responsible for the murder of the Washington Post columnist, Callamard said.
He also referred to Riyadh’s invitation to representatives of member countries of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to be present at some of the hearings and has warned that, if they attend, “they risk being participants in a potential error of justice.
Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi monarchy, was beheaded on 2 October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul (Turkey) and his disappearance provoked harsh criticism from the international community against the Saudi regime, which confirmed the murder more than ten days after his disappearance.
After evidence emerged that the assassination was committed by a Saudi team sent from Riyadh (Saudi capital), Turkish police sources did not rule out that the direct order to take Khashoggi’s life came from the Saudi Crown Prince Muhamad bin Salman, also responsible for the aggression in Yemen, and the “kidnapping” of the Lebanese premier Saad Hariri in 2017.