The United Nations human rights chief said Tuesday that immunity should be lifted for officials potentially involved in the disappearance Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
> "In view of the seriousness of the situation surrounding the disappearance of Mr. [Jamal] Khashoggi, I believe the inviolability or immunity of the relevant premises and officials bestowed by treaties such as the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations should be waived immediately," rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.
> Bachelet stressed that "under international law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing are very serious crimes, and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible.
> "Two weeks is a very long time for the probable scene of a crime not to have been subjected to a full forensic investigation."
Saudi officials have repeatedly claimed they had no involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, insisting that after entering the consulate to take care of marriage paperwork, the journalist left of his own free will.
Turkish officials dispute the Saudi story and claim to have video and audio evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, though they have yet to offer concrete proof.
> Bachelet's spokesman Rupert Colville told AFP that the U.N. rights chief had been in contact with the Saudis to discuss the matter.
> "Given [that] there seems to be clear evidence that Mr. Khashoggi entered the Consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards," Bachelet said.