27 November 2018

Human rights group wants to use Argentina's constitution to accuse MbS

In call to investigate crown prince Mohammed bin Salman over death of Saudi journalist, Human Rights Watch turns to Argentine constitution.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Argentina to investigate Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for murder and war crimes, because Argentina has a clause in its constitution that could open up proceedings.

War crimes clause

The groups has asked Argentina to use a war crimes clause in its constitution to investigate the role of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman or, MbS as he has known, in the case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The same investigation could also include possible crimes against humanity in Yemen. Argentina's constitution recognises universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture. This means that judicial authorities can investigate and prosecute those crimes wherever they were committed. HRW said its submission was sent to federal judge Ariel Lijo. However, no confirmation is yet to be provided by judge Lijo's office.

Submission made

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's middle east and north Africa director, said the international rights group took the case to Argentina because Prince Mohammed will attend the opening of the G20 summit this week in Buenos Aires. Argentine judicial authorities have begun examining a submission on alleged violations of international law committed in Yemen ahead of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. Ms Whitson explained to Reuters news agency, ‘we submitted this info to Argentine prosecutors with the hopes they will investigate MbS's complicity and responsibility for possible war crimes in Yemen, as well as the torture of civilians, including Jamal Khashoggi.’ However, media comment in Argentina suggest  it is highly unlikely that the authorities will take up the case, though such strategies have been successful in the past, most notably in 1998 in the Pinochet case.