Saudis Reject Independent Probe of Khashoggi’s Murder
Coverup has been Saudi strategy all along, at first weeks of denial before admitting Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, calling it “premeditated” after concocting hollow explanations of what happened.
The kingdom has gone all out to shift blame from what crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) clearly ordered to lower level patsies.
Last month, the Saudis claimed they fired five top officials, arresting 18 others, mostly connected to the hit team dispatched to eliminate Khashoggi in Istanbul.
What happened to them is unclear. Perhaps they’re confined to Ritz Carlton hotel luxury like scores of other regime officials and businessmen MBS held hostage there, shaking them down for billions of dollars, the price for their release.
Maybe the kingdom is waiting for the international uproar over Khashoggi’s murder to fade from world community headlines and interest, intending to restore culpable favorites to prominent positions.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported on former Saudi intelligence chief prince Turki al-Faisal, saying the kingdom rejects an independent investigation into Khashoggi’s murder – coverup continuing as best as MBS can arrange it.
Faisal laughably said there’s “no attempt to cover up,” adding “(t)he kingdom is not going to accept an international tribunal to look into something that is Saudi. (Its) judicial system is sound. It is up and it is running and it will take its course.”
Saudi justice is much like Britain’s 15th – 17th century oppressive Star Chamber. Its abuse of power was notorious, its arbitrary rulings denying what real justice is all about.
Saudi courts are rubber-stamp, enforcing despotic rulings, automatic guilt by accusation how it operates. Israel treats Occupied Palestinians the same way in military courts, civil justice denied them.
Turkish President Erdogan said Khashoggi’s murder was ordered by the kingdom’s highest authority, leaving no doubt who he meant
Maybe he has hard evidence proving it, intending to release it if unable to extort from Riyadh what he wants – likely billions of dollars to aid Turkey’s ailing economy, maybe along with millions for himself and family members.
Turki saying the kingdom will disclose information on Khashoggi’s remains in its reporting flies in the face of Turkish information so far revealed, indicating his dismembered body was dissolved in hydrofluoric acid.
When chief Saudi prosecutor met with his Turkish counterpart days earlier, he stonewalled by refusing to answer questions asked.
Three days of talks achieved nothing, including refusal by him and other high level Saudi officials to extradite the Khashoggi murder suspects to Turkey for prosecution.
Erdogan at the time said, “(o)ur prosecutor told the Saudi prosecutor that the prosecution could be carried out in Turkey since the location of the crime (was) Istanbul.”
Technically it’s not so as embassies and consulates are the territory of their respective countries. Yet committing murder in a host country is a special issue.
Diplomatic immunity for crimes committed abroad is problematic when serious ones like murder are committed.
Article 31 (1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states: “A diplomatic agent shall enjoy immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the receiving State” even for serious offenses.
Immunity is inviolable unless an accused diplomat’s home country waives it – clearly what the Saudis have no intention of doing.
Individuals extradited to Turkey for prosecution might reveal dirty secrets Riyadh wants suppressed.
At the same time, Article 31 (4) of the Vienna Convention states: “The immunity of a diplomatic agent from the jurisdiction of the receiving State does not exempt him (or her, my insertion) from the jurisdiction of the sending State.”
Diplomats committing crimes abroad can be prosecuted in their home countries, never for US and other Western officials. What happens to Saudi hit squad members dispatched to Istanbul remains to be seen.
MBS above all others should be held accountable for ordering Khashoggi’s murder – not as long as despotism is the law of the land in the kingdom.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”