I remain deeply concerned about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi almost one year ago. In the days and weeks that followed his death, disturbing information came to light that points unequivocally to the fact that Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by agents of the Saudi State.
In January 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions announced that she would initiate a human rights inquiry, under the terms of her mandate, into the unlawful death of Mr. Khashoggi. The report by Agnes Callamard was published in June. Ms Callamard found that Mr Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated extrajudicial execution, for which the State of Saudi Arabia is responsible.
The report was discussed during an Interactive Dialogue with Ms Callamard at the Human Rights Council on Wednesday 26 June. An EU statement thanked Ms Callamard for her report, condemned the killing, reiterated that those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi must be held to account, and again called for ‘prompt; effective and thorough; independent and impartial; and transparent investigations’. The statement called upon Saudi Arabia to disclose all information available and to fully cooperate with all investigations into the killing.
Ireland also made a national statement at the dialogue, emphasising the importance of the protection of journalists and media workers, and joined calls that those responsible for the killing must be held to account. Officials from my Department have continued to raise our concerns about this case directly with Saudi officials - most recently with the Saudi Ambassador in Ireland last week - and to press for a transparent legal process.
In her report Ms Callamard called for the Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council or the UN Secretary-General to conduct an international follow-up criminal investigation for the purpose of determining individual liability and identifying options towards judicial accountability. The call by UN Special Rapporteur will need to be considered in these fora.
Ireland fully supports a follow up investigation by the Human Rights Council, as called for by Ms Callamard. The Special Rapporteur did not identify the ICC as among the next steps to be considered at this stage. Recourse to the International Criminal Court is only possible in certain circumstances and for specific types of crimes.
Ireland is a strong and unequivocal supporter of a free press. As a global community, protecting journalists and media workers must be an essential component of our efforts to protect and promote freedom of expression.