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G20 urged to reconsider holding meeting in Riyadh to protest Khashoggi murder  

Protesters holding placards demonstrate against the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London on 26 October 2018 [Jack Taylor/Getty Images]
Protesters holding placards demonstrate against the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia Embassy in London, UK on 26 October 2018 [Jack Taylor/Getty Images]

The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, has called on major world powers to reconsider holding the next G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia due to its failure in bringing the killers of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to account.

On a visit to Washington, Callamard, who presented the findings of her report on the murder of Khashoggi last month, said that the next G20 summit, scheduled for November 2020 in Riyadh, presented an opportunity to pressure the kingdom into carrying out a full and credible investigation into the brutal killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year.

“Political accountability for Mr Khashoggi will mean that it doesn’t happen or it’s moved elsewhere, or something is being done to ensure that the political system in the US and in other countries does not become complicit of that international crime,” Callamard said at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Callamard repeated the contentions in her report of the Saudi account of the murder and stressed that it was crucial to recognise that a state carried out the killing of Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered by a 15-man team of officials linked to Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.

In the 100-page report Callamard concluded that Khashoggi’s murder “constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the State of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

Dismissing Riyadh’s defence of the Crown Prince who it claims did not sanction the killing of Khashoggi, the report explained that “from the perspective of international human rights law, State responsibility is not a question of, for example, which of the State officials ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s death; whether one or more ordered a kidnapping that was botched and then became an accidental killing; or whether the officers acted on their own initiative.”

READ: Khashoggi’s ghost haunts the Saudi Crown Prince

Callamard’s remarks drew attention to the growing concern over the international community’s failure to mount any real pressure on Riyadh for the murder of Khashoggi. During the recent G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Bin Salman was placed front and centre – standing between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the event’s host – for the traditional “family photo”. It indicated the crown prince, who was a pariah figure during the previous G20 summit held a month after the killing of Khashoggi, was welcomed back by the global political establishment.

Commenting on the warm embrace of Bin Salman, David Miliband, former British foreign secretary and chief executive of the humanitarian organisation International Rescue Committee, was reported by the Washington Post saying that it “reflected an age of impunity in global politics”.

“All those countries that have a relationship with Saudi Arabia need to use those relationships in a way that curbs the failed war strategy in Yemen,” Miliband said about the upcoming summit in Saudi Arabia.

READ: Jailed Morocco journalist was warned by Khashoggi he was a target of MBS

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