UN rights expert leads probe into Khashoggi’s killing

Geneva: A team of UN experts is set to carry out an investigation into the killing of a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul, the organization said on Friday.

Agnes Callamard, a UN human rights expert and special rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, would be tasked with leading the international inquiry into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a statement released by the organization’s human rights office said, reports Efe news.

“The UN expert will assess the steps taken by governments to address and respond to the killing, and the nature and extent of States’ and individuals’ responsibilities for the killing,” the UN statement said.

Callamard, who is also an expert in summary or arbitrary killings, would begin the inquiry with a visit to Istanbul from January 28 to February 3, accompanied by British lawyer Helena Kennedy and Professor Duarte Nuno Vieira from the University of Coimbra.

“The inquiry will also seek to identify ways by which States can strengthen fulfilment of their international commitments to protect the right to life, prevent violations and ensure accountability,” said Callamard, according to the statement.

The expert was expected to present the team’s findings at a session of the UN Human Rights Council in June.

The UN said Callamard had experience leading human rights investigations in more than 30 countries and had acted as an advisor to organizations and governments all over the world.

Khashoggi, who had been a columnist for the Washington Post since 2017 after he left Saudi Arabia and was openly critical of his country’s monarchy, was allegedly murdered and dismembered by a Saudi team on October 2 at his country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkish investigators have concluded.

Khashoggi’s disappearance sparked an outcry from the international community, drawing condemnation from organizations and world leaders.

Saudi officials initially denied Khashoggi’s death at the consulate but later acknowledged he had been killed when a fight broke out.