"Heads of State have the duty to speak"

On October 2, 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the consulate in Riyadh, Turkey, where he was going to be murdered and dismembered. A year later, the United Nations denounced the "lack of courage" of the international community.

Time to Reading 4 min.

Subscribers article

In Berlin, on 1 October, Reporters Without Borders activists pay tribute to Jamal Khashoggi a year after his murder.
In Berlin, on 1 October, Reporters Without Borders activists pay tribute to Jamal Khashoggi a year after his murder. HANNIBAL HANSCHKE / REUTERS

Agnès Callamard is the UN Human Rights Council's rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. His June report on the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was liquidated on October 2, 2018, in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, reinforced suspicions about Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salman ("MBS") and called for the opening of an international inquiry.

Three months after the publication of this work and a year after the events, which had sparked a global outcry, Mme Callamard harshly criticizes the response of Saudi power and the international community.

It calls for the creation of an international and permanent investigative mechanism to combat impunity in cases of targeted executions.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Macabre Details and Responsibility of Saudi Arabia: The Scathing UN Report on the Death of Jamal Khashoggi

One year after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and three months after the publication of your report, do we know more about the circumstances and those responsible for his death?

Since June, there has been no progress. The trial, (in Saudi Arabia), members of the Istanbul commando apparently continued. There was, according to my information, a new session, still in camera. But Saud al-Qahtani (a close adviser to Mohammed Ben Salman, involved in the operation) was not on the dock and he has not been charged yet. Despite all the evidence that has been brought, Saudi Arabia refuses to realize that this is a state crime, not an individual crime. In this case, the truth is the other victim.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Khashoggi trial: the silence weighing Western observers

Has Saudi Arabia learned from this scandal, in your opinion?

Not at all. None of those imprisoned in the kingdom for crimes of conscience, such as journalists and activists, have been released. In the last twelve months we have not seen any progress in respect of fundamental freedoms, no change of course.

In May, an activist who is a refugee in Norway (Palestinian human rights activist Iyad Al-Baghdadi, who often criticizes the Riyadh authorities), was even put under protection by the police of that country, after it was informed by the American CIA of the existence of threats against him. With regard to freedom of expression, the situation is at a standstill.

How do you rate the reaction of the international community?

It's a shambles, if you give me that expression. When my report was presented in June, the majority of States had taken a firm stand. Unfortunately, the actions did not follow.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here