Ban releases follow-up to report on the death of former UN chief Dag Hammarskjöld

24 August 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today released a follow-up note to the 2015 report of an Independent Panel of Experts that was established to examine and assess new information regarding the death of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today released a follow-up note to the 2015 report of an Independent Panel of Experts that was established to examine and assess new information regarding the death of former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.

The panel was appointed by Mr. Ban at the request of the UN General Assembly, which also requested its Member States to release any relevant records in their possession as well as to provide the UN chief any relevant information related to the death of the former Secretary-General and of the members of his party.

Mr. Hammarskjöld served as the top UN official from April 1953 until his death at the age of 56 in a plane crash in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, along with 15 others in September 1961.

According to a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson, the follow-up note includes responses from Belgium, South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States to the requests made by Mr. Ban, following up on the pending questions of the Panel to the countries and as mandated by the 193-member General Assembly.

“I would again urge all Member States to continue their search for relevant documents and information, and to review for potential disclosure information which remains classified or undisclosed for other reasons,” said Mr. Ban in the follow-up note.

“I have declassified those archives of the UN for which I am responsible under the relevant rules and regulations, some of which were, at the time of the report of the Panel, still classified at a confidential or strictly confidential level,” he added.

The General Assembly also requested that the Secretary-General explore the feasibility of establishing a central archival holding or other arrangement that would enable access to relevant records with a view to ensuring their preservation and access.

According to the statement issued today, the UN chief reached out to individuals and institutions that may hold relevant information to request that they provide an inventory of such information. It noted that responses continue to be received.

Both the Mr. Ban and the General Assembly have previously stated that a further inquiry or investigation would be necessary to finally establish the facts of the matter.

The statement adds that any further inquiry or investigation would benefit from an assessment of potential new information, including from South Africa or other sources.

Additionally, Mr. Ban has recommended that the General Assembly appoint an eminent person or persons to review new information which may exist. Such person or persons would then be able to determine the scope that any further inquiry or investigation should take.

Recalling that Mr. Ban has said previously that the most likely source of any additional material would be the files and records of Member States, the statement noted: “To this end [the Secretary-General] has again urged all Member States to continue to search for and disclose relevant documents and information.”

“Ultimately, it is for the General Assembly to decide on any further action,” it concluded.

 

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Ban appeals for more information on Dag Hammarskjöld’s death

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged United Nations Member States to make available all information they may have in their possession related to the circumstances and conditions of the crash that killed Dag Hammarskjöld while he was serving as UN chief more than 50 years ago, saying previous requests “have not been conclusively answered” and that unreleased material “may still be available” that could shed new light into his death.