Riyadh: Saudi Arabia Retains Right to Take Legal Action in Response to 'False Claims' by UN - Report
23:24 19.06.2019(updated 23:52 19.06.2019)
UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard earlier issued a report calling on Antonio Guterres to launch a follow-up investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi due to "credible evidence" that warrants further investigations of senior Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir challenged on Wednesday the impartiality of the UN report, stressing that the document contained "false accusations confirmed as stemming from the preconceived ideas and positions" of the UN special rapporteur towards the kingdom, Reuters reported, citing the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Adel al-Jubeir added that Saudi authorities had provided a progress report on the Khashoggi case to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 3 June, and retained the right to take legal action in response to the report's claims, according to the SPA, cited by Reuters.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, went missing October 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh initially denied knowledge of the Saudi journalist's whereabouts but eventually admitted that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered while inside the embassy.
Saudi authorities subsequently charged 11 people with Khashoggi's murder, but have repeatedly denied the involvement of the royal family.
In the United States, President Donald Trump accepted Saudi Arabia's claim that the crown prince was not aware of what Riyadh described as a rogue operation.
Meanwhile, the US Department of State said Wednesday that Washington is closely examining the UN report and may consider additional measures against those responsible if new details come to light.
"The United States supports UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard's efforts to investigate extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Several State Department officials met with her, at her request, to discuss several matters, including Jamal Khashoggi's killing", a State Department spokesperson said. "We are looking at the report that just came out closely [...] The Saudi government should continue to ascertain all the facts and hold those responsible for the murder accountable. If additional facts come to light, we will consider further measures".
In the UN report, Callamard qualified Khashoggi's death as a premeditated extrajudicial murder for which Saudi Arabia is responsible. She called for further investigation into the possible involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other high-level Saudi officials' in the murder. Callamard also recommended that an informal meeting of the UN Security Council be called on the matter.
The rapporteur suggested that the US should "open an FBI investigation into the execution of Mr. Khashoggi, if one is not already open, and pursue criminal prosecutions within the United States, as appropriate".
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