G20: Argentina court examines complaint against Saudi crown prince & it’s not about Khashoggi
Buenos Aires, Nov 29: The 13th edition of the G20 summit is set to kick off in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on Friday, November 30, and all eyes are on the Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accused of ordering the gruesome murder of dissenting Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
However, bin Salman might have more in his plate in Argentina apart from the Khashoggi controversy.
According to a report in Buenos Aires Times, a federal court in the Latin American country is examining a criminal complaint against bin Salman for alleged war crimes committed in Yemen, a war-ravaged country in the Middle East.
"Argentine prosecutorial authorities should scrutinize Mohammed bin Salman's role in possible war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition since 2015 in Yemen," the BA Times quoted Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, which lodged the complaint, saying in a statement.
"The crown prince's attendance at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires could make the Argentine courts an avenue of redress for victims of abuses unable to seek justice in Yemen or Saudi Arabia," Roth said.
The complaint against the Saudi crown prince is in the hands of Federal Judge Ariel Lijo though a few are convinced that the latter will actually flag off a probe. Argentina's constitution recognises a universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture and allows Lijo to launch an investigation even though there is no known Argentine victim in the war in Yemen to which Saudi Arabia is a part.
"A decision by Argentine officials to move toward investigation would be a strong signal that even powerful officials like Mohammed bin Salman are not beyond the reach of the law," Roth said, adding that bin Salman should know that he might face a criminal probe if he entered Argentina.
Bin Salman nevertheless arrived in the Argentine capital on Wednesday, November 28, ahead of the summit and was received at the airport by Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie.