International Criminal Court To Mull MbS Probe For “Crimes Against Humanity”
A US-based law firm has sent a formal petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague calling for an investigation into Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman over the Jamal Khashoggi murder and other crimes against humanity.
This after a recent UN report holds the Saudi government responsible for the Oct. 2, 2018 grizzly killing of the journalist at the consulate in Istanbul, which MbS in a “60 Minutes” interview this week said was a “mistake” that was ultimately his “full responsibility” — while also vehemently denying that he ordered the hit. According to CNN,
Attorneys Bruce Fein, a former associate deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, and W. Bruce DelValle drafted the petition on behalf of the National Interest Foundation, a Washington nonprofit frequently critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, saying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “has ruthlessly and systematically persecuted his political detractors, opponents, or rivals,” since being elevated to his position in June 2017. The petition was submitted in July but had not been made public.
The document charges the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia with “a widespread… systematic attack directed at civilian political opponents” in and out of the kingdom – no doubt a reference to both Khashoggi’s death as well as a crackdown on political opponents and dissidents, likely including the ongoing Saudi-led bombing of Yemen.
The filing further said he’s “guilty of murder, torture, rape, extortion, illegal detentions, wrongful prosecutions, and the death penalty, i.e., crimes against humanity as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute.”
“A component of the crown prince’s systematic attacks or persecution of his opponents,” the filing states, “was his order to assassinate courageous journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which was executed by the Saudi Raid Intervention Group by killing and dismembering… him in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.”
“Nothing of significance happens in the kingdom absent the crown prince’s direction or approval,” the filing states.
“Even if he said he did not order the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi, the law makes him culpable for it,” one of the filing attorneys, Bruce Fein, told Al Jazeera. “As someone who knows everything of significance in Saudi Arabia, MBS should have known about the planned murder even if he was not supervising his thugs.”
Interestingly, the crown prince’s admissions in the 60 Minutes interview could be used against him in any ICC court proceedings, given he essentially admitted government “responsibility” while claiming no personal knowledge of the planned murder.
“This was a heinous crime,” Prince Mohammed, 34, told “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday. “But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government.”
Asked if he ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who had criticized him in columns for The Washington Post, Prince Mohammed replied: “Absolutely not.”
If the Hague-based ICC should move forward with charges against MbS it would be devastating to the ‘reformist’ prince’s image and to the prospects of the kingdom’s economically ambitious Vision 2030 makeover.
However, it would remain only symbolic in that the Hague has no ultimate enforcement power in terms of bringing rulers to justice — typically unless Western allies assist, as has been the case with war criminals in Africa or the 1990’s Balkan conflict.
Thu, 10/03/2019 – 01:05