The Strategist

Agnes Callamard of UN: Saudis are responsible for Khashoggi murder, US should intervene

06/20/2019 - 16:52

Against the background of rising tensions around Iran, the UN extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard proposed introducing sanctions against the country’s main regional opponent, Saudi Arabia. This is stated in Ms. Callamard’s report on the murder of The Washington Post columnist Khashoggi.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office via flickr
Foreign and Commonwealth Office via flickr
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the UN extrajudicial executions investigator Agnes Callamard’s report published yesterday. The document will be submitted to the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council, which opens on Friday in Geneva.

Agnes Callamard considers the Saudi investigation to be opaque. In her report, she called for a halt to trials in Riyadh. In her opinion, the UN secretary-general should follow the investigation of the “Khashoggi case” and define a mechanism for identifying those responsible.

The report refers to credible evidence of possible involvement of dignitaries in the Saudi Kingdom in the murder. Ms. Callamard called on the international community to impose targeted sanctions against them. The case also comcerns Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is proposed to take sanctions in respect of his personal property and assets abroad “until evidence is obtained that he is not responsible for the execution of Mr. Khashoggi”.

Ms. Callamard calls on Saudi Arabia to take “state responsibility for murder” and apologize to the journalist’s family, friends and colleagues. Apologies should also be sent to Turkey, in which territory the murder took place, and the United States, where Jamal Khashoggi lived. Among other things, Saudi Arabia is encouraged to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, release all political prisoners and investigate information about torture in prisons.

The report also contains recommendations for the United States. In particular, it was proposed that the FBI should investigate the murder, and the US Congress should hold special hearings on this matter. According to the report’s author, these steps will determine the degree of responsibility of high-ranking officials of Saudi Arabia.

After the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, the US Congress advocated freezing of cooperation between Riyadh and Washington. However, Trump’s administration found such a development dangerous for the American economy. An important argument of the US president was also the fear that termination of relations with Riyadh would intensify military cooperation of the Saudis with Moscow.

Congress was only able to adopt a resolution on termination of the American military aid to the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, against the Yemeni Hussites. However, Donald Trump also vetoed it. Over the past four years, the United States has supplied Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with weapons worth at least $ 68 billion. In early June, Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine found out that Trump’s administration transferred nuclear technologies to Riyadh twice after the death of Jamal Khashoggi. And at the end of May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress of Donald Trump's intention to take advantage of the exclusive right to conclude a new deal with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. President motivated his decision by increasing tensions with Iran. We are talking about 22 contracts worth $ 8 billion. On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez began the official process of blocking the first of 22 contracts concerning production of high-precision guided Paveway bombs in Saudi Arabia.