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U.N. Report Calls For International Investigation Of Jamal Khashoggi's Killing


And we begin this hour with the most complete accounting to date of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He died last fall at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. And a U.N. report out today, the culmination of a months-long inquiry, concludes both that Saudi Arabia is responsible and that the evidence should compel further investigation into the role played by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Now, those findings alone are not startling. The CIA also believes the crown prince was involved. But the report also includes new details about what happened inside the consulate that day.

The U.N. official in charge of this report is Agnes Callamard, and she joins me now from Geneva. Welcome.


KELLY: Your report concludes it's inconceivable that the Saudi crown prince wasn't at least aware of this attack on Jamal Khashoggi. How did you come to that conclusion?

CALLAMARD: All of the evidence I have collected point to the responsibility of the state of Saudi Arabia. So that was a state-sponsored killing. The notion that the murder of Mr. Khashoggi was a rogue killing simply is belied by the evidence and...

KELLY: But to be clear, you found no smoking gun that the crown prince directly ordered this.

CALLAMARD: This is outside my mandate. I am conducting a human rights inquiry, not a criminal investigation. Nevertheless, what I have found is that there is sufficient evidence demanding a follow-up criminal investigation with regard to the crown prince.

KELLY: Did Mohammed bin Salman talk to you or your team?

CALLAMARD: No. Unfortunately despite my repeated requests to Saudi Arabia, they never responded positively to my request to go to Saudi Arabia, meet with a prosecutor there and with anyone else involved in the investigation. My investigation, however, benefited from the support of the Turkish authorities as well as from a range of other governments.

KELLY: The Turkish authorities, for example, gave you access to tapes, to recordings that were made.

CALLAMARD: Absolutely - to 45 minutes of recording which concern the two days that preceded the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and a recording of conversations just before his killing and during his killing.

KELLY: I want to warn people listening that the answer to this next question may be hard to listen to and may not be appropriate for everyone. But what new details can you add to our understanding of how Jamal Khashoggi died.

CALLAMARD: Mr. Khashoggi entered the consulate. What you can hear in his voice, particularly at the beginning of course, is happiness. He was entering the consulate for the purpose of getting documents to get married. Over the next seven minutes, you can hear the fear growing in the sound of his voice.

KELLY: I hate to ask you about this, but there is audio where you can hear him being called a sacrificial animal. You can hear talk about joints being separated.

CALLAMARD: Absolutely. So that is also evidence, in my view, of premeditation. Before Mr. Khashoggi was actually clearly killed, there is a discussion involving the forensic doctor and the description of how a dismantlement could be done - conversation ends with a question. Has the sacrificial animal arrived? That of course is Mr. Khashoggi.

KELLY: Saudi Arabia has responded to your report. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs was on Twitter saying there's nothing new here. Given that, given that they wouldn't let you come visit Saudi Arabia, they wouldn't let you interview the leadership, what hopes do you have that a new international investigation will actually advance our knowledge of this?

CALLAMARD: Look; the investigation that I am suggesting is not like mine. It's got to be focusing on individual criminal liabilities. And it should identify mechanism to which people individually responsible for the crime can be held to account. Secondly, I would like to insist that to pay homage to Mr. Khashoggi, to ensure that his killing is not to be repeated, Saudi Arabia must demonstrate that they are taking steps not to repeat the crime.

KELLY: Agnes Callamard, thank you.

CALLAMARD: Thank you very much.

KELLY: She is special rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions for the U.N. Human Rights Office. She was talking there about her report out today on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.