Truth for Jamal Khashoggi is Large-Scale Call for Accountability

Fadi Al-Qadi

(October 11, 2018)- Truth is, no solid, proven and decisive facts have been established regarding the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (today, Thursday the 11th October marks 9 days on his disappearance).

Aside that, tons of information are being circulated, exchanged, probably fabricated and disseminated with various intentions (sometimes conflicting).

Truth for Jamal is not an idealistic call. It embeds too many ingredients:
1. Need for serious, non-politicized investigation into Jamal’s fate.
2. Need for establishing borders of responsibility [of] perpetrators of any crime against Jamal (forced disappearance is already major crime).
3. Seek accountability for each crime committed against the prominent Saudi dissent (disappearance is one crime; torture is another, extrajudicial killing is a third).
4. Finally, identify under which legal/law mechanism justice shall be served (if this is criminal case only, then how Turkey’s judiciary competence may be viewed, and if sought to be a crime of an international nature then would a tribunal be suitable venue, etc.).

This case is particularly significant not only because it brings too many regional players to the verge of confrontation; but because of the scope of precedent it may have established. Persecuting dissents and peaceful critics in Saudi are not new phenomenon (and in fact, not new to the Gulf or the Arab region). But to have [potentially] orchestrated a plan to hunt down a critic with the prominence Jamal had; disappear him, and expose him to an unknown fate (which could be death) is unprecedented and sends extremely chilling/alarming signals to a wide spectrum of dissents, not only in Saudi or Saudis outside, but also to thousands of Arab advocates and activists in Europe and the US and elsewhere [who] do not enjoy a profile like the one Jamal had and who are at risk of undefined types of risks.

UN Experts call for an international investigation might be the only path to move forward in bringing the truth for Jamal. Albeit that call has not identified under which mandate this investigation can be conducted. There are no shortages in the recent history of the UN Security Council or in this region where similar crimes (that has the same magnitude) have been responded to (for instance Security Council resolution 1757 of 30 May 2007 which established Special Tribunal for Lebanon to hold trials for those accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 which killed 22 people, including the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and injured many others.).