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U.N. Panel to Investigate Dag Hammarskjöld’s Death

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 16 2015 (IPS) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Monday, appointed an independent panel of experts to examine new information that has emerged from the investigation into the death of former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld. 

Ban designated the Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mohamed Chande Othman, as the head of the panel. The other panelists are Kerryn Macaulay, Australia’s Representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation (ICAO), and Henrik Ejrup Larsen, a ballistics expert at the National Center of Forensic Services in the Danish National Police.

The panel is expected to assess the “probative value” of new information given to the secretary-general from the Hammarskjöld Commission, related to the plane crash, in which the ex-U.N. chief, and the party accompanying him, lost their lives.

In mid-March, Ban informed the General Assembly that the Hammarskjöld Commission had discovered “new evidence…relating to the conditions and circumstances” of the case.

The accident happened on the night of Sep. 17, 1961, in what is today Zambia.

Based on a General Assembly resolution adopted in December 2014, the panel will start its work on Mar. 30, 2015, and will report directly to the secretary-general Jun. 30, 2015.

All 193 member states have been encouraged to collaborate and release any relevant material relating to Hammarskjöld’s death.

Hammarskjöld, the second secretary-general of the U.N., served from 1953 until 1961. At the age of 47 he was nominated secretary-general, and remains the youngest man to have held the position. His plane crashed near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo with Zambia, while he was on a mission to negotiate a ceasefire during the Katanga crisis.

Initially filed as a tragic plane accident, the United Nations is launching this investigation to clarify the doubts over the Swedish diplomat’s death.

Edited by Roger Hamilton-Martin

 
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