- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The United Nations is not waiting for an internal Saudi investigation into the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year to demand action and accountability.

“I will not want the search for justice for Jamal Khashoggi to be held hostage of the vagaries of the legal process in Saudi Arabia,” said Agnes Callamard, the United Nations-appointed special rapporteur in the case.

Although the Saudi Arabian government criticized her investigation, Todd Piccone, chief engagement officer at the World Justice Project, spoke highly of Ms. Callamard’s 100-plus page report that found “credible” evidence to explore whether de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing.

“This is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful and sober reports I have ever read on such a difficult and complex subject,” Mr. Piccone said during the panel discussion.

Ms. Callamard said that the killing of Mr. Khashoggi highlighted the “democratic deficit” between countries and said each nation needed to hold its representatives accountable.

“It is up to us, the electorate, to ensure that our representatives do stick to the script for global governance and, at the minimum, human rights,” she said. “We cannot tolerate that democratic deficit to become the norm.”

Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the ruling family in Riyadh, was killed by Saudi government agents at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, sparking a crisis in U.S.-Saudi relations. Despite anger on Capitol Hill, President Trump has repeatedly declined to blame the crown prince or other top Saudi officials for the killing.

Mr. Trump skirted questions about Mr. Khashoggi at the Group of 20 gathering last week, where he met with the crown prince. Ms. Callamard’s report suggested steps that the U.S. and other nations could take to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, including at next year’s G-20 summit.

“I now realize that next year the G20 will take place in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “But political accountability for Mr. Khashoggi will mean it doesn’t happen or is moved elsewhere.”

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