the lawyer for the Sherpa association denounces the “hyper cynicism” of the head of state

Emmanuel Macron receives this Thursday, July 28 at theELysée, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). A dinner, four years after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The Saudi Crown Princest accused of complicity in torture and enforced disappearance in connection with the murder of the journalist The lawyer for the Sherpa association, William Bourdon, denounces this Thursday, July 28 on franceinfo “the hyper cynicism” of Emmanuel Macron.

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franceinfo: Welcoming the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is it pragmatism or complacency, even cynicism, on the part of Emmanuel Macron?

William Bourdon : I see hyper cynicism there. There is a manifest tradition in France in favor of human rights, the concern to be exemplary in the universality of the defense of human rights, an intransigent ethic when fundamental rights have been violated.

This tradition [de la France] in favor of human rights, today, is in tatters, in crumbs.

William Bourdon, lawyer for the Sherpa association


With Emmanuel Macron, everything is accelerating. After the visit of General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, President of Egypt, this complacency turns into cynicism, given the unanimous disapproval of one of the most barbaric crimes, a political crime, orchestrated, premeditated, the watch- apens in which Jamal Khashoggi fell. The consequence of this minimal morality is to note that France’s obligation to intercept suspects of the most serious crimes, which is inscribed in the marble of our national law, is today in tatters.

Two NGOs, including the one founded by Jamal Khashoggi, have just filed a complaint in Paris against Mohammed bin Salman. Could you join in?

Yes, of course we could join in, like other NGOs. There is absolute consensus to consider that this dolphin does not benefit from any immunity, unlike a head of state in office. This should make this complaint admissible immediately. I was one of the initiators, 30 years ago, of the implementation of universal jurisdiction, with the arrest of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka after the genocide in Rwanda and I note the disintegration of France’s obligations. This disintegration is very spectacular today. There is documentation that converges in the direction of MBS to say that he is the conductor, the order giver of this barbaric crime. The law of impunity is winning over the law that the NGOs have tried in vain to enshrine, that is to say to make the most powerful accountable when they want to remain irresponsible the longest.

The argument of the executive is to say that we must continue the dialogue with Saudi Arabia because of the energy issues. Do you hear this argument?

You don’t have to be naive. I am not one of those who consider that France should cut itself off from all economic and diplomatic relations with partners who are essential, strategic. Obviously the answer must be more nuanced. It’s not white or black. But diplomatic and economic relations did not require receiving MBS under these conditions.

“Faced with a man who has so much blood on his hands, and when that blood is so documented, so much celebration, so much storytelling with this visit with great fanfare, there is something that is totally revolting”

William Bourdon, lawyer for the Sherpa association


However, Emmanuel Macron denounces the human rights violations committed in Ukraine by Russia. Do you think there is a double standard?

That is the supreme hypocrisy. War crimes, crimes against humanity before our eyes every day in Ukraine are rightly denounced by the great international leaders, by Emmanuel Macron and by others. We salute the very rapid investigation carried out by Karim Khan, the new prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. But basically, we have the feeling that this denunciation of the abject crimes committed by the Russian army is a money laundering operation to better screen this hyper cynicism of Emmanuel Macron.

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