Callamard gets no Saudi help over Khashoggi probe

Published: February 03, 2019 21:39:08


ANKARA: Agnes Callamard meeting Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as part of the investigation recently — AP

As the United Nations' investigator into the death of Jamal Khashoggi leaves Turkey this weekend, it remains unclear whether her inquiry will get world powers to push harder to bring the Saudi journalist's killers to justice, reports Al Jazeera.

According to reports, Callamard was allowed to listen to Turkey's audio recordings of Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh has not cooperated with the probe, and she was not granted interviews with Saudis or access to the three-storey building.

Agnes Callamard, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said she was a "bit disappointed" with the information she obtained following a week of talks with Turkish ministers, intelligence chiefs and Istanbul's top prosecutor.

Al Jazeera spoke with several experts on the case, who all said that the key questions remaining are who Callamard names as the plotters and whether her dossier motivates a tough response from world powers.

"As Callamard leaves Turkey, there are hopes that her report lays a crucial foundation to bring those responsible for Khashoggi's brutal murder to account, including any officials behind the killing," Balkees Jarrah, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera.

"The big questions are over what evidence she has had access to, how she frames her report and, perhaps more importantly, whether the international community has the stomach to pursue this to some kind of full criminal prosecution."

Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic who lived in the United States and wrote for the Washington Post, was killed on October 2 at the consulate, where he had gone to collect documents for his planned wedding.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, whose body was reportedly dismembered.

Saudi officials have denied Prince Mohammed's involvement and described a "rogue operation" carried out without his knowledge. Last month, a trial opened in Riyadh of 11 defendants over the killing, though several rights groups say it lacks credibility.

Callamard said her inquiry was launched on her "own initiative", with an invitation from Ankara. She told Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News that she had "felt the duty" to investigate as the UN and its members were not pushing for a criminal investigation.

The French academic was joined in Ankara and Istanbul by Helena Kennedy, a top British lawyer and Member of the House of Lords, and Duarte Nuno Vieira, a forensic scientist and professor at Portugal's University of Coimbra.

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