The Human Rights Watch has asked Argentina to investigate Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the war crimes in Yemen and for the murder of Turkish journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to Al Jazeera, Argentina’s constitution grants universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture. Thus, they can have their judicial authorities investigate and prosecute those crimes regardless of where they were committed. Sarah Leah Whitson, the Director of Human Rights Watch of the Middle East and North Africa Division, said the international rights groups took the case to Argentina because Prince Mohammed will be attending the opening of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.
“The crown prince’s attendance at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires could make the Argentine courts an avenue of redress for victims of abuses unable to seek justice in Yemen or Saudi Arabia,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “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,” stated Whitson. According to Reuters, while Human Rights Watch has submitted their request to federal judge Ariel Lijo with the hopes of opening up an investigation, neither Lijo’s office nor the office of Argentina’s public prosecutor have responded.
Whitson commented that “There’s an extremely strong basis for Argentina to closely examine a very broad record of documentation and facts. People around the world are desperate to see real accountability for people who are getting away with terrible crimes.”
According to Al Jazeera, since March 2015, the Saudi-Emirati-led coalition has carried out numerous indiscriminate air attacks on Yemen’s citizens, hitting homes, schools, hospitals, markets and mosques. The Saudi-Emirati alliance has also imposed a naval and air blockade on Yemen, consequently preventing the flow of food, fuel and medicine to the civilians. According to Al Jazeera, the UN estimates about 14 million Yemenis are facing famine since the start of the coalition. The United States and other western countries have increasingly called for an end to the violence and constant attacks in order to address the unfolding humanitarian disaster. The killing of Turkish journalist Jamal Khashoggi sparked anger in many people and has led to a change in heart towards the Saudi kingdom. Now, increasingly more people are calling for action against Saudi Arabia and for justice for Jamal Khashoggi. As stated by Reuters, western nations are also calling for an end to the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen which has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in history.
As the situation worsens, it is crucial that the Saudi government is held accountable for its actions that have led to the suffering of millions of innocent Yemenis. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi needs to be addressed and an investigation is necessary to determine the role of Saudi Arabia in this crime. Since Argentina’s constitution recognizes universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, it is important for them to respond to the Human Rights Watch’s request and move forward with the investigation in order to end the unjust suffering of innocent civilians. In addition to Human Rights Watch’s work, western nations should also push for the investigation and take a stance against the Saudi-Emirati coalition. Without direct action against Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s country, the violence in Yemen will continue and more innocent lives will be lost.
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