Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission of the UN, said in a press briefing Tuesday that the Saudi case on the “horrendous crime” of killing the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 has lacked “proper transparency in the justice process.”
Colville’s statements follow reports from Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on “extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings,” who has extensively investigated Khashoggi’s murder and has expressed similar comments on the inadequacies of the current trial.
While Callamard welcomed the commutation of the death penalty for the individuals who had been sentenced, she critiqued the fact that the five hitmen of the trial received 20 years imprisonment, “but the high-level officials who organized and embraced the execution of Jamal Khashoggi have walked free from the start — barely touched by the investigation and trial.” Callamard ultimately called the situation a “parody of justice” and suggested that the “verdicts carry no legal or moral legitimacy.”
Callamard’s June 2019 report identified various violations of international law observed over her sixth-month investigation, including “the prohibition against torture, under the terms of the Convention Against Torture, ratified by Saudi Arabia,” “the requirement that states use consular missions for official purposes,” and “the prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of life, a fundamental principle of international law,” to name a few. Her report also states that Saudi Arabia committed more violations through its investigation of the killing, such as “fair trial guarantees” and “the duty of international cooperation in investigation of unlawful death.”
The Human Rights Office also released Tuesday a press briefing highlighting the ongoing killings of journalists in Pakistan.