Tunisia’s prosecutor has launched preliminary research into a complaint against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over human rights abuses in Yemen, Tunisian news outlets have reported.
The National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (NSTJ) filed the complaint against bin Salman Monday, on the eve of a visit by the Saudi leader to the North African country, Tunisian news website Tunis Webdo reported.
“Another victory for the Tunisian judiciary,” the NSTJ said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, as it announced that the prosecutor would look into the complaint.
Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign in the country in 2015 after Houthi rebels took over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and ousted President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is allied with Riyadh.
A Saudi-led coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates, has since been accused of committing war crimes in the country, as have the Houthis.
The NSTJ’s complaint “called for an investigation to be opened on the subject [of human rights in Yemen] and to launch necessary legal procedures to send the file to the International Criminal Court,” Tunis Webdo said.
The complaint against bin Salman, also known as MBS, came amid widespread protests against his visit to the country. Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader landed in the capital, Tunis, on Tuesday and met with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.
The NSTJ’s announcement also came after Argentina said on Monday that it would look into whether to press criminal charges against MBS for his role in leading the Saudi military campaign in Yemen.
That inquiry was opened after Human Rights Watch and an Argentine federal prosecutor lodged a complaint against the Gulf kingdom for potential war crimes, the New York Times reported.
Meeting with Tunisian president
MBS began his first trip outside of Saudi Arabia since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi late last week, and his stops in the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia come amid global condemnation of the journalist’s gruesome killing.
A Saudi insider-turned-critic and prominent Washington Post columnist, Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.
Hundreds of people demonstrated in Tunis to condemn MBS and call for justice for Khashoggi and for the many people that have been killed in the war in Yemen.
They shouted “Go away assassin!” and held placards with slogans that read: “The people want bin Salman to be judged”, “No to the killer of Yemeni children” and “You’re not welcome”.
Despite the public pressure, Essebsi welcomed the Saudi crown prince when his plane landed in Tunis on Tuesday.
The two leaders discussed ways to improve cooperation on the “economy and finance, investment promotion and security and military cooperation to counter extremism and terrorism,” the Tunisian presidency said in a statement.
For his part, MBS said Riyadh and Tunis have long had good relations and described Essebsi as being “like his father”.