Argentine authorities are weighing possible criminal charges against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman days before he is expected to touch down in Buenos Aires for the Group of 20 (G-20) summit, officials told The New York Times.
It's far from clear whether a complaint lodged by the advocacy group Human Rights Watch against the crown prince will lead to an arrest, but just the specter of legal action is an embarrassment for the Saudi leader.
The action comes as Crown Prince Mohammed seeks to move on from the international controversy surrounding the murder of a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at a Saudi Consulate last month in Istanbul.
President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE last week signaled there would be no major actions from his administration against the crown prince as a result of the murder of Khashoggi, who was a Virginia resident and wrote for The Washington Post.
Administration officials are set to brief U.S. lawmakers on intelligence findings related to Khashoggi's killing on Wednesday, and senators in both parties have signaled support for sanctions against Riyadh.
The focus of the Human Rights Watch complaint is the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Riyadh has been the subject of great criticism for bombings that have hit civilians in Yemen. The war has also caused severe hunger and health crises in the impoverished country.
The Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the U.S., since 2015 has carried out scores of "indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes on civilians and civilian objects in Yemen," Human Rights Watch said in its statement. The organization says "many of these attacks ... indicate possible war crimes."
The complaint also accuses the crown prince and Saudi government of torture of Saudi citizens.
Argentina’s constitution recognizes universal jurisdiction for war crimes and torture, meaning judicial authorities in the country can investigate and prosecute crimes no matter where they were committed, and regardless of the nationality of the suspects or their victims.
Judicial sources told Argentine media outlets, however, that authorities are unlikely to take up the case, Reuters reported.