Sunday, 24 January 2021

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UN calls for “complete investigation” of murders in the DRC

Lacroix, DPKO, Sweden visit

The UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has callled for a “free, thorough, complete investigation” on the murders of two UN investigators by authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

At a press conference in Stockholm yesterday, Lacroix rejected allegations in the press of a cover-up on behalf of the UN in the investigation of the murders of two UN experts in the DRC.  Zaida Catalán from Sweden and Michael Sharp from the USA were murdered one and a half years ago while on a fact-finding mission for the UN.

“There has to be free, fair, thorough, complete investigation – judicial investigation by Congo,” Mr. Lacroix said. “We have repeatedly conveyed that message.  We have as you know a monitoring team led by Robert Petit. They are doing everything they can that this will happen.”

Lacroix admitted that although justice had not “probably not” been pursued in the most effective way, the UN would not give up.

“We will continue, and I can assure you that we are totally determined to make sure that there would be justice for Zaida and Michael. We will not rest until that happens. I can guarantee you.”

Lacroix was in Sweden for previously scheduled talks with Foreign Minister Margot Wallström but his visit coincided with the publication of reports critical of the investigation of the murders by a group of media, including SVT, the Swedish public television, French, German and US media.

Lacroix said the meeting had been an “opportunity to discuss the murder of our colleagues Zaida and Michael. We will continue to relentlessly pursue justice. It is difficult not to be emotional because they are our colleagues. They were killed as they were really working for the benefit of the Congolese people – really to make a difference.”

The Under Secretary-General pointed out that the UN could not lead a judicial investigation, its Board of Inquiry had investigated the matter to improve security. However, both Swedish and US authorities were investigating the murders and the UN was working with them.


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