Khashoggi probe my initiative as UN signals no investigation: UN special rapporteur
Nalan Koçak - ISTANBUL
The U.N. human rights investigator leading the international inquiry into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on a visit to Turkey has said she embarked on the trip at her own initiative as there has been no signal that the “U.N. intends to demand officially or implement an international criminal investigation.”
“I am undertaking this inquiry, at my own initiative, under the terms of my mandate as U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings. There being, to date, no signal that the U.N. and member states intend to demand officially or implement an international criminal investigation, I felt the duty,” Agnes Callamard, the U.N. special rapporteur on executions, has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Callamard began a week-long mission to Turkey at Ankara’s invitation yesterday. She is leading an independent panel of international experts which also includes British barrister Helena Kennedy and Duarte Nuno Vieira, a pathology expert and professor at Coimbra University, Portugal.
The trio will stay in Turkey until Feb. 3 to investigate the killing of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi, who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Right before her visit, Callamard told the Daily News of the details of her mandate.
“Through my inquiry, I will assess the steps taken by governments to address and respond to the killing, as well as the nature and extent of states’ and individuals’ responsibilities for the killing,” she added.
The mission to Turkey is just the first step of the inquiry process, “the collection of information and its assessment will continue afterwards."
"I have informed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the country visit to Turkey and its purpose. I have requested access to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and a meeting with the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Turkey. I have also sought permission to conduct a similar country visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I will also be requesting meetings with other relevant stakeholders such as the authorities of the U.S. As per the rules of the special procedures, I have requested that the Turkish government agrees to extend to me an invitation to undertake an official visit to Turkey. The government has granted this authorization and extended their invitation,” she said.
She has not received an answer from the Saudi authorities yet.
Concerning the mission in Turkey, she said: “The mission to Turkey will include prominent legal experts and be supported by other experts in relevant technical and forensic matters. I will consult with a broad range of experts and stakeholders.”
The final report of the panel will be available by the end of May and will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its June sessions.
When asked what would happen next, she said: “The council members no doubt will consider, if not debate - at least to some extent - my recommendations, but as to whether or not they will accept those recommendations and then take action accordingly remains to be seen. Next steps will depend on a range of factors, including member states’ willingness to take the issues forward. Encouragement from other actors - the media and civil society - may play a role in this. I will work with others to ensure that my recommendations are taken seriously.”