A United Nations human rights expert has found "credible evidence" linking Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Agnes Callamard, a special rapporteur, urged the UN on Wednesday to launch an international criminal investigation into Khashoggi's murder.
Callamard determined in a 101-page report that there was "credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi Officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince's."
The expert noted the "extreme sensitivity" of considering the criminal responsibility of the crown prince, as well as Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to the Saudi royal court who has not been charged.
"No conclusion is made as to guilt. The only conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further investigation," the report said of the two men.
"Khashoggi was himself fully aware of the powers held by the Crown Prince, and fearful of him," it added.
She urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to "initiate a follow-up criminal investigation into the killing... to build-up strong files on each of the alleged perpetrators and identify mechanisms for formal accountability."
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of Prince Mohammed, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
The CIA has reportedly said the murder was likely ordered by the crown prince, the de facto ruler and heir to the Arab world's most powerful throne.
The prince this week warned against "exploiting" the murder for political gains.
Riyadh initially said it had no knowledge of his fate, but later blamed the murder on rogue agents.
Saudi prosecutors have absolved the crown prince and said around two dozen people implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against five men.
The report identified by name the 15 people she said were part of the mission to kill Khashoggi, and suggested that many of them were not on the list of 11 unnamed suspects facing a closed-door trial over the murder.
Wednesday's report also found that there was evidence that "Saudi Arabia deliberately used consular immunity to stall Turkey’s investigations until the crime scene could be thoroughly cleaned."
"In view of my concerns regarding the fairness of the trial of the 11 suspects in Saudi Arabia, I call for the suspension of the trial," she said in the report.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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