UN names Bhutto assassination commission members

[JURIST] A three-member independent commission established by the UN to investigate the assassination [JURIST report] of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] will begin its work on July 1, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] announced [text; press release] Friday. The commission, anticipated since February, will be led by Chilean Ambassador to the UN Heraldo Munoz [official profile], who served as President of the UN Security Council [official website] in January 2004 and currently heads the UN Peacebuilding Commission [official website]. The other two members of the commission are Marzuki Darusman, former Attorney General of Indonesia, and Peter Fitzgerald, a former deputy police commissioner in the Irish National Police who has served with the UN in other capacities. A timetable of six months has been established to complete the fact-finding mission, after which the commission will share its findings with the Secretary General, who will then share the report with the Pakistani Government and the UN Security Council.

In October 2008, Ban said the UN would opt for a fact-finding commission instead of launching a full investigation [JURIST report] as sought by Bhutto supporters. Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack in December 2007 that claimed the lives of at least 20 other people. At that time, Bhutto was the head of the opposition Pakistan People's Party [party website], which was challenging then-Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) [party website] in the lead-up to parliamentary elections. Soon after the events, Musharraf rejected [JURIST report] any UN investigation into the assassination despite calls for an inquiry [JURIST report] by Bhutto's husband and current President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari [BBC profile]. Musharraf blamed Al Qaeda for the killing and said a UN probe was not necessary since there was no suggestion that a outside country had been involved in the killing.

 

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