Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior Saudi officials should be investigated over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi since there is credible evidence they are liable for his death, a U.N. rights investigator said on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, rejected the investigator’s report as “nothing new”.
He added in a tweet: “The report of the rapporteur in the human rights council contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility.”
Khashoggi’s killing provoked widespread disgust and damaged the image of the crown prince, previously admired in the West for pushing deep changes including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive.
Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, called on countries to invoke universal jurisdiction for what she called the international crime and make arrests if individuals’ responsibility is proven.
In a report based on a six-month investigation, she also urged countries to widen sanctions to include the crown prince, who many consider the kingdom’s de facto ruler, and his personal assets abroad, until and unless he can prove he has no responsibility.
Khashoggi, a critic of the prince and a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding.
His body was dismembered and removed from the building, the Saudi prosecutor has said, and his remains have not been found.
“What needs to be investigated is the extent to which the crown prince knew or should have known of what would have happened to Mr. Khashoggi, whether he directly or indirectly incited the killing…whether he could have prevented the execution when the mission started and failed to do so,” Callamard told reporters.
“It is the conclusion of the Special Rapporteur that Mr. Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human rights law,” Callamard said in her report.
The Saudi public prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects in November, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of ordering and committing the crime.