World ‘deserves to know the truth’ behind Khashoggi disappearance: UN human rights chief

17 October 2018

United Nations human rights chief Michele Bachelet said on Wednesday that she was open to an independent, UN-led investigation into the fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if joint efforts by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, fail to uncover the facts.

The High Commissioner who heads OHCHR, reiterated her call earlier in the week, for diplomatic immunity to be waived to ensure the joint investigation is effective, impartial and transparent.

Mr. Khashoggi, an influential Saudi journalist and critic, who has been living in exile in the United States in recent months and writing a column for the Washington Post newspaper, had gone to the Saudi Consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, on 2 October, to obtain marriage papers. He was never seen leaving, and the Saudi authorities have denied all knowledge of his whereabouts.

If it doesn’t work we might need another kind of investigation...His family and the world, deserves to know the truth - UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday with the UN News Spanish service at UN Headquarters in New York, Ms. Bachelet said that Mr. Khashoggi’s “family and the world, deserves to know the truth” of what happened to him.

The rights chief said the UN had firstly urged both countries - Turkey and Saudi Arabia – to conduct a joint investigation, which is on-going, “but we have mentioned that this investigation should be thorough, should be transparent, should be a very serious investigation” she said, to determine whether, and how he may have died or genuinely disappeared.

She said it was essential that the perpetrators be brought to justice. Urging the full lifting of diplomatic immunity for the truth to be established, she said that the joint investigation, had to succeed in uncovering the facts.

“If it doesn’t work we might need another kind of investigation, but for now, we hope that it’s already been done, some of this, even though it’s 12 days later. His family and the world, deserves to know the truth,” said the High Commissioner.

Read, hear and watch our first in-depth interview with the new High Commissioner, recorded at the end of September, by going here