Thursday Jul 04, 2019
WASHINGTON: World powers should reconsider holding the next Group of 20 summit in Saudi Arabia without accountability over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN expert who probed his death said Tuesday.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in a report last month found "credible evidence" that linked Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of Khashoggi, a dissident writer who published in The Washington Post.
On a visit to Washington, Callamard — who presented her report to the United Nations but does not speak for it — said that the next Group of 20 summit, scheduled for November 2020 in Riyadh, offered a chance to pressure Saudi Arabia.
"Political accountability for Mr. Khashoggi will mean that it doesn't happen or it's moved elsewhere, or something is being done to ensure that the political system in the US and in other countries does not become complicit of that international crime," Callamard said at the Brookings Institution.
Callamard said it was crucial to recognize that a state carried out the killing of Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered shortly after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to handle wedding paperwork.
"So far the Western governments that have adopted individualized targeted sanctions — which, by the way, are good — are also selling the 'rogue' theory by so doing," she said, referring to the Saudi contention that out-of-control agents were responsible.
"So it's really important to insist on what we do vis-a-vis the state of Saudi Arabia, not some 15, 17 individuals," she said.
She also called for sanctions to restrict Saudi access to surveillance technology, saying the government has shown it "cannot be trusted" with it.
President Donald Trump's administration has slapped sanctions on individuals but vowed to preserve warm ties with Saudi Arabia due in part to its purchases of US weapons and its hostility to Iran.
Meeting Crown Prince Mohammed at the last G20 on Saturday in Osaka, Trump said the 33-year-old leader was doing a "spectacular job."
Callamard said she had not "yet" held talks at the White House during her visit to Washington.