Mohammed bin Salman

29.03.2019 ( Last modified: 13.08.2019 )
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Facts

Mohammed bin Salman was born in 1985. He obtained a law degree from King Saud University. He served as an adviser to the Council of Ministers for two years in 2007. In 2009, he became special adviser to his father, who was governor of Riyadh at the time. On 23 January 2015, after his father acceded to the throne, he was appointed Minister of Defence. The same year, he was named deputy crown prince. He became crown Prince and vice-prime minister on 21 June 2017.

On 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the armed group of Houthis in Yemen, triggering a major armed conflict. For three years, Yemen has been ravaged by a war that has already killed more than 10’000 people, half of whom are civilians.

Mohammed bin Salman was appointed Minister of Defense on 23 January 2015. One of his first acts was to launch the military campaign in Yemen along with other Arab states.

UN bodies and Human Rights groups have denounced the widespread violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed in Yemen. Alleged violations include deliberately targeting civilians, the use of illegal cluster-munitions, indiscriminate airstrikes and a naval blockade which deprived civilians of access to basic necessities.

The complaint alleges that certain attacks on civilian targets constitute violations of the 1984 Convention against Torture. These include the destruction of an Oxfam warehouse containing humanitarian supplies on the 18 April 2015; airstrikes on a wedding ceremony on 28 September 2015, which killed 131 civilians; on 26 October 2015, an attack on an MSF hospital, the GPS coordinates of which were known to the coalition; and the bombing of a funeral hall in Sana’a on 8 October 2016, which resulted in dozens of civilian casualties.

Legal Procedure

Procedure in France:

On 9 April 2018, while Mohammed bin Salman was in France on a personal visit, the Yemeni Human Rights group Legal Center for Rights and Development lodged a complaint against him with the French specialized unit for the prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture within the Paris High Court. The complaint alleges that Mohammed bin Salman bears complicity in acts of torture and inhumane treatment committed by Saudi forces in Yemen since 2015. A judge should be designated to investigate the case.

Procedure in Argentina:

On 26 November 2018, the international NGO Human Rights Watch filed a denunciation with the Argentinian Federal Prosecutor in anticipation of Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Buenos Aires for the G20 Summit.

The submission asks the Argentine authorities to investigate Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the war crimes allegedly committed in Yemen, as well as in acts of torture and ill treatment of Saudi nationals, including the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi.

On 28 November 2018, a federal Prosecutor formally requested inquiries into whether the allegations are being investigated elsewhere, and into Mohammed bin Salman’s diplomatic status and immunities. On the same day, the competent federal investigating judge sent information requests to the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, to the ICC and to the Argentine foreign Ministry.