In the life of states, as in the life of individuals, there are days that carry difficult or painful news. Experience shows that the best way to deal with this kind of days is to confront them with courage, responsibility and transparency. The only option is to deal with painful news very seriously… to know the circumstances and reasons that led to their occurrence, identify the causes and liabilities, and hold those involved accountable. At the same time, it is important to learn lessons from what has happened to ensure that the same incident is not repeated.
Anyone, who reads through experiences of individuals and states, knows that errors can occur and can be particularly dangerous. Individuals make mistakes because they misjudge, exaggerate, surpass the authority, or think they can escape accountability. Members of an organ or an institution sometimes commit an act of misconduct or misjudgment, disregarding the limits of authority and ignoring the restrictions that are supposed to govern the behavior of persons in a body or group.
Talking about mistakes does not mean justifying them; on the contrary, it is a way to stress that mechanisms must be put in place to prevent them from happening again, and to minimize the emergence of difficult or painful news due to violations of laws, norms and powers.
Those who know Saudi Arabia, are aware that the news of the disappearance of colleague Jamal Khashoggi was extremely painful for his family, friends and country. Jamal, before being a journalist and holder of critical and opposing stances, is a Saudi citizen. It is not Saudi Arabia’s habit to wash its hands of the fate of any of its citizens, regardless of their position on this or that issue. Broad-mindedness is part of the Kingdom’s policy at home and abroad.
By adopting the choice of justice and accountability, Riyadh re-directed the painful incident to its legal and judicial context. It is the logic of the state, responsibility, rule of institutions, learning of lessons and restructuring of bodies under the umbrella of law.Ghassan Charbel