Justice Initiative Files Submission Requesting New UK Sanctions against Saudi Crown Prince
NEW YORK—Today, the Open Society Justice Initiative made a submission to U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab requesting that he designate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, as an “involved person” in the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020. This would allow the U.K. government to impose an asset freeze and U.K. travel ban on the crown prince.
“The U.K. government needs to show that it is serious about seeking accountability for and deterring serious human rights abuses,” Jana Sadler-Forster, a legal officer at the Justice Initiative, said. “The credibility of the new sanctions regime depends on the foreign secretary holding those in the highest positions of power accountable, even when doing so is politically inconvenient.”
The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 came into force on July 6, and equip the foreign secretary with the power to impose sanctions on individuals involved in serious human rights violations. While 20 Saudi nationals involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi were among the first group of individuals to be sanctioned under the regulations, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not included.
The CIA has expressed “medium-to-high confidence” that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally targeted Khashoggi and probably ordered his death, and U.S. members of Congress privy to the CIA assessment have stated unequivocally that Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder. UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings Agnes Callamard has also specifically called for states to impose sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman based on “credible evidence into the responsibilities of the Crown Prince for [Khashoggi’s] murder.” According to documents filed in the U.S. federal court by former Saudi intelligence officer Saad al-Jabri, the crown prince also ordered and dispatched a team to assassinate him roughly two weeks after Khashoggi's killing.