David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, has reiterated the call for an “independent investigative body” to examine the case of the late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was reportedly killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. He stressed the need for a “credible statement about what actually happened.”
In an interview with UN Radio and UN Web TV at UN Headquarters on October 22, Kaye said he was disappointed that his calls for an international investigation – along with those of Special Rapporteur on summary executions Anges Callamard and the UN working group on enforced disappearances – have not been taken up by States.
He added: “I would really urge all governments to respond not just in the context of the November 2 Day To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists, but also in the context of this moment when journalists are under such attack that they should step up; and whether it’s through the Security Council, or the Human Rights Council, or persuading the Secretary General to do this.”
The Special Rapporteur said the investigative body could evaluate the data and provide the international community with a credible report of what happened. He said: “It may not answer every question, but it would hopefully identify who’s responsible and what exactly happened.”
Kaye said it would be up to the international community to decide what to do with the investigation outcome, but underscored that in the absence of that, “we’re going to be in this situation where we’ll be under kind of constant disputation about what the facts are, and we need a credible statement about what actually happened.”
Special Rapporteurs are part of the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council and work on a voluntary basis. They are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
The interview at UN headquarters in New York took place a week before the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, on November 2, when UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will launch a new campaign, Truth Never Dies, to raise awareness of the dangers they face: Every four days, a journalist somewhere around the world is killed.