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UN slams Riyadh's ‘substandard’ Khashoggi trials

I can recommend that the perpetrators and the masterminds be tried [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 April, 2019

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UN investigator Agnes Callamard said the trials are substandard, urging authorities to continue inquiries into the murder once her report on the assassination is submitted in the coming weeks.

United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions slammed Saudi trials in the ongoing Khashoggi case on Thursday, describng the legal proceeding is substandard.

United Nations investigator Agnes Callamard – an academic who is leading an international probe into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – said that inquiries into the murder should not end once her report on the assassination is submitted in the coming weeks.

The UN rapporteur is set to release her findings to the UN Human Rights Council before its next session in June.

"My report is … going to spend a lot of time and pages on the next steps and the recommendations and how we provide accountability to Mr Khashoggi, to his family, friends and colleagues," Callamard told broadcaster Al Jazeera on Thursday.

The report will examine how "we ensure that the killing, and the vacuum the killing generated in terms of accountability, [so] that we take steps to address the vacuum", she said.

Callamard said she can refer the case higher up the UN system, reiterating that prosecuting individuals is not within her remits.

"I'm not a court of law. I cannot try the perpetrators. I can provide the information, I can recommend that the perpetrators and the masterminds be tried, but I cannot do that myself," Callamard said.

The referral could include calls for detailed scrutiny at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, at the UN Security Council in New York, or by the head of the organisation, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"You have to wait a few more months as I go through the various options, but you will find that in the report," said the UN rapporteur, who is probing into the killing of Saudi Arabia journalist Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically about the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, likely at the orders of the young but powerful royal.

The CIA believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to kill Khashoggi and say his body was dismembered and removed to a location still publicly unknown.

His remains have not been found.

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