DrReporters Without Borders has filed criminal charges against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the Public Prosecutor. The German division of Reporters Without Borders announced on Tuesday that it is primarily responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the imprisonment of more than thirty Saudi journalists. These are crimes against humanity. The complaint was also filed against four other high-ranking representatives of the conservative Islamic kingdom. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Karlsruhe confirmed that the criminal complaint had been received.
The announcement stated that “Reporters Without Borders calls on the Public Prosecutor to open an official investigation into these crimes.” The organization is based on the so-called principle of universal law: perpetrators must not find refuge anywhere. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office then pursues crimes under the International Criminal Law (VStGB) that came into effect in 2002.
Khashoggi, who was living in exile in the United States, was killed by Special Command from Riyadh on October 2, 2018 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. There is no trace of his body to this day. According to a CIA report published on Friday, bin Salman approved the operation to capture or kill Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia dismissed this as a mistake.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has played a pioneering role in prosecuting perpetrators of war crimes in Syria. Victims and perpetrators alike have often found refuge here as refugees. If the foreign suspects are not in Germany, investigators are not required to take any action. Countries where the crime occurred and where the perpetrators and victims come from are primarily responsible. According to the VStGB, crimes against humanity occur “as part of a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population”.
The Khashoggi murder trial is still underway in Turkey. A Saudi court has sentenced five defendants to death and to long prison terms. Reporters Without Borders criticized that the main suspects “remain without absolute punishment.” The reported cases exposed a regime threatening the lives and freedom of all journalists.