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The Scandal of Callamard’s Report

The Scandal of Callamard’s Report

Friday, 21 June, 2019 - 06:30
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

I don’t think that the United Nations needs a new distortion of its image, by falsely attributing to it a report such as that of UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard about the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

It is true that Callamard’s position at the UN is an honorary one and that her report is not binding, similar to dozens of reports that are submitted annually to the Human Rights Council. It is also true that the UN did not originally task her with this mission, but the major scandal has occurred and has been attributed to the UN-affiliated institution.

We call it a scandal not only because the report contains dozens of contradictions and illogical conclusions, and not because it did not carry reliable evidence that can be assessed, but because the Rapporteur reflected her own declared positions and convictions against the Kingdom in a report that is supposed to be impartial and flawless.

Consequently, the credibility of the report has fallen even before its announcement. Otherwise, how does Callamard talk about the presence of strong evidence that she shared with Turkey, but not with the Saudi government, despite the repeated demands of the Kingdom to be informed on any evidence that could contribute to the investigation into the case.

Moreover, there is a striking similarity between the words found in the report and the vocabulary used by the Turkish authorities in their organized media attacks against the Kingdom, not to mention the reliance on erratic press and unidentified sources.

Is all that resulted from Mrs. Callamard’s investigation during her five days in Turkey a collection of conclusions drawn from the Turkish authorities, Khashoggi's fiancé and the press sources?

Apart from the fact that the report neither represents the United Nations, nor does it have binding legal consequences as it was not mandated by the international organization, Callamard has overlooked a very important point: the Kingdom’s Judiciary is the only competent authority to look into the case and exercises its functions in complete independence. The Kingdom certainly rejects attempts to undermine its sovereignty and to interfere in its internal affairs by taking the case out of its current judicial course or trying to influence it, as Mrs. Callamard is seeking to do.

Such arbitrary interference has no legal basis. The report, in the end, is intended to be a media tool, not a legal report that can be dealt with. This is the goal through which Callamard seeks to prolong the case in the media and give it the dimension of propaganda to harm the reputation of the Kingdom. It converges with the strategic objective set by the Turkish authorities since the first day.

She, who describes al-Qaeda terrorists as “political reformers”, cannot be considered trustworthy to issue a neutral report. She, who mocks the participation of Saudi women in the Olympics for the first time in London 2012, cannot be expected to present a fair account.

When she claims in her report that the “Saudi government has not conducted its investigation in good faith,” it can only be said that the UN rapporteur and those behind her - including countries and entities which are obstructing the investigations and seeking to influence their course - are just another nail in the coffin of the so-called international reports, in which they are nothing more than a tool used in an ugly way to politicize issues that are supposed to remain in their legal orbit.

In order to investigate the credibility of Callamard’s report and her positions against Saudi Arabia, one should only skim through her Twitter page to know the truth!

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