Ar­gentina judge acts on com­plaint against Saudi prince

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

Ar­gen­tine le­gal au­thor­i­ties took ini­tial ac­tion Wed­nes­day to con­sider a re­quest from Hu­man Rights Watch to pros­e­cute Saudi Ara­bia’s Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man for al­leged crimes against hu­man­ity.

The rights group’s move is ap­par­ently aimed at em­bar­rass­ing the crown prince as he at­tends the G-20 sum­mit in Buenos Aires this week.

Fed­eral Judge Ariel Lijo agreed to a re­quest by prose­cu­tor Ramiro Gon­za­lez to de­ter­mine if other en­ti­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the prince for pos­si­ble crimes against hu­man­ity be­fore de­cid­ing whether to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Ar­gentina.

Ar­gentina’s le­gal sys­tem al­lows cases to be brought against crimes against hu­man­ity al­legedly com­mit­ted else­where. But it is un­likely any­thing will hap­pen soon, given the time it will take the judge to make a de­ci­sion after the re­quest for in­for­ma­tion from Ye­men, Turkey and the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court is filed by the Ar­gen­tine for­eign min­istry.

The judge has also asked rights groups to pro­vide de­tails sup­port­ing al­le­ga­tions against the prince.

Hu­man Rights Watch ac­cuses the prince of war crimes in Ye­men and re­spon­si­bil­ity for the grue­some slay­ing of news­pa­per colum­nist Ja­mal Khashoggi in­side the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul last month.

“The Ar­gen­tine ju­di­ciary, by tak­ing steps to­ward a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, is send­ing a clear mes­sage that even pow­er­ful of­fi­cials like Mo­hammed bin Sal­man are not above the law and will be scru­ti­nized if im­pli­cated in grave in­ter­na­tional crimes,” the group said in a state­ment.

“A cloud of sus­pi­cion will loom over him as he tries to re­build his shat­tered rep­u­ta­tion at the G20, and world lead­ers would do well to think twice be­fore pos­ing for pic­tures next to some­one who may come un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for war crimes and tor­ture.”

The prince, who stopped in sev­eral Arab coun­tries along the way, ar­rived in Buenos Aires early Wed­nes­day and was taken to the Saudi Em­bassy, which is be­ing guarded by dozens of po­lice of­fi­cers.

Ar­gentina has co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with Saudi Ara­bia in tourism and other ar­eas. – AP

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