Imran Jan |
A six month long investigation by the UN special reporter, Agnes Callamard, on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has resulted in compiling a 101 page report, which makes clearer than before that the Saudi high officials or rather specifically, Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), is responsible for the death of The Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. “The circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi’s death have led to numerous theories and allegations, but none alters the responsibility of the Saudi Arabia State,” the report reads.
Ms. Callamard calls on other “States” to claim “universal jurisdiction” because it was, as she says, an “international crime”. She further adds, “I call on those States to take the necessary measures to establish their competence to exercise jurisdiction under international law over this crime of extrajudicial execution.” Ms. Callamard pointed out 6 violations of international law in this “premeditated execution” and labeled the hesitancy of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, to intervene as “absurd”.
One of the 6 violations of international law she has outlined is “the prohibition against arbitrary deprivation of life”. To cite one example; does killing an 81-year-old grandmother named Mominah Bibi in FATA with double tap drone strikes constitute the “arbitrary deprivation of life” and did anyone compile a report after a months-long investigation? Does anyone even know about it? Did killing the six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper constitute the “arbitrary deprivation of life”?
The bigger criminals, the emperors of the world, are immune to any recommendations, let alone being actually punished.
US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike without the due process of law. His 16-year-old US citizen son, who was fond of rap music, was also killed in a drone strike. Does this count as “arbitrary deprivation of life”? Has anyone recommended to other states to “take necessary measures” to “exercise jurisdiction” over these crimes of “extrajudicial execution”? Has the refusal to intervene by the UN Secretary-General been labeled as “absurd”?
The other international law, she argued, that the Saudis violated is “the prohibition against torture, under the terms of the Convention Against Torture.” I wonder if the well-known use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the United States constitutes torture. Do water-boarding and force-feeding count as torture? Or do they not because of the benign title “enhanced interrogation technique”? I wonder if rape someday would be called “enhanced dating”.
Then Ms. Callamard mentions that the killing of Khashoggi was a violation of “a core tenet of the United Nations, the protection of freedom of expression”. President Obama had personally telephoned Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to ensure the incarceration of the Yemeni investigative journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye just because he had revealed the US role in cluster munitions and how camps of nomads and civilians were going to be hit by Cruise missiles.
Does anyone even know about it? Did killing the six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper constitute the “arbitrary deprivation of life”?
Does that sound like a violation of “the protection of freedom of expression”? Shaye was also tortured in prison. Then there is “the prohibition against extraterritorial use of force as enshrined in the UN Charter”. Ms. Callamard here is referring to Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter which forbids the “threat or use of force” by states in their international affairs.
Has she paid attention that every time an American president opens his mouth about Iran for instance, he issues a threat? Bush expressed his desire to resolve the Iran nuclear issue diplomatically but also stated that “all options are on the table.” Obama also warned Iran and North Korea, “If you do not do what we tell you to do, we may launch a nuclear first strike upon you.” Trump vacillates between threats and goodwill gestures via Twitter.
The point is that it is the same pirates and emperors’ fable at work here. The Saudis are bad enough. However, they are smaller criminals, yet their crimes investigated and recommendations for punishment made. The bigger criminals, the emperors of the world, are immune to any recommendations, let alone being actually punished.
Imran Jan is a political analyst. He can be reached at email@example.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.