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UN Bhutto Report April 2010

UN Bhutto Report April 2010

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Published by Maria Demée

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Published by: Maria Demée on Apr 17, 2010
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Report of the United Nations Commission of Inquiryinto the facts and circumstances of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir BhuttoExecutive Summary
On 27 December 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhuttowas assassinated as she left a campaign event at Liaquat Bagh, in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. In the attack on Ms Bhutto, 24 other people were killed and 91 injured.After a request from the Government of Pakistan and extensive consultations withPakistani officials as well as with members of the United Nations Security Council,the Secretary-General appointed a three member Commission of Inquiry to determinethe facts and circumstances of the assassination of the former prime minister. Theduty of carrying out a criminal investigation, finding the perpetrators and bringingthem to justice, remains with the competent Pakistani authorities.The Secretary-General appointed Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz, the PermanentRepresentative of Chile to the United Nations as head of the Commission as well asMr Marzuki Darusman, a former Attorney-General of Indonesia, and Mr PeterFitzGerald, a former Deputy Commissioner of the Irish Police, the Garda Siochána.The Commission commenced its activities on 1 July 2009 and provided its report tothe Secretary-General on 30 March 2010.In the course of its inquiry, the Commission received significant support from theGovernment of Pakistan and many of its citizens. The Commissioners and staff traveled frequently to Pakistan in the furtherance of its mandate. The Commissionconducted more than 250 interviews, meeting with Pakistani officials and privatecitizens, foreign citizens with knowledge of the events in Pakistan and members of the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) team that investigatedaspects of the assassination. The Commission also reviewed hundreds of documents,videos, photographs and other documentary material provided by Pakistan’s federaland provincial authorities and others.The Commission also met with representatives of other governments such asAfghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.Some relevant senior officials were not made available to the Commission, but theCommission is satisfied that this did not hinder its ability to establish the facts andcircumstances of the assassination. Pertinent information from these sources,including on threats to Ms Bhutto, nevertheless, was already in the possession of Pakistani authorities and eventually came to be known by the Commission.The Commission was mystified by the efforts of certain high-ranking Pakistanigovernment authorities to obstruct access to military and intelligence sources, asrevealed in their public declarations. The extension of the mandate until 31 March
 
2enabled the Commission to pursue further this matter and eventually meet with somepast and present members of the Pakistani military and intelligence services.The report addresses the political and security context of Ms Bhutto’s return toPakistan; the security arrangements made for her by the Pakistani authorities, whobore the primary responsibility to protect her, as well as her political party, thePakistan Peoples Party (PPP); events immediately before and after the assassination;and the criminal investigations and actions of the Pakistani Government and police inthe aftermath of the crime.Ms Bhutto’s return to Pakistan on 18 October 2007 and assassination on 27December 2007 culminated a year of intense political conflict, revolving largelyaround the elections scheduled for later that year and their potential for opening atransition to democracy after eight years of military rule. It was also one of the mostviolent years in Pakistani history. She returned in the context of a tenuous andinconclusive political agreement with General Pervez Musharraf, as part of a processfacilitated by the United Kingdom and the United States.Ms Bhutto’s assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measureshad been taken. The responsibility for Ms Bhutto’s security on the day of herassassination rested with the federal Government, the government of Punjab and theRawalpindi District Police. None of these entities took the necessary measures torespond to the extraordinary, fresh and urgent security risks that they knew she faced.The federal Government under General Musharraf, although fully aware of andtracking the serious threats to Ms. Bhutto, did little more than pass on those threats toher and to provincial authorities and were not proactive in neutralizing them orensuring that the security provided was commensurate to the threats. This isespecially grave given the attempt on her life in Karachi when she returned toPakistan on 18 October 2007.The PPP provided additional security for Ms. Bhutto. The Commission recognizesthe heroism of individual PPP supporters, many of whom sacrificed themselves toprotect her; however, the additional security arrangements of the PPP lackedleadership and were inadequate and poorly executed.The Rawalpindi district police’s actions and omissions in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Ms Bhutto, including the hosing down of the crime scene andfailure to collect and preserve evidence, inflicted irreparable damage to theinvestigation. The investigation into Ms Bhutto’s assassination, and those who diedwith her, lacked direction, was ineffective and suffered from a lack of commitment toidentify and bring all of the perpetrators to justice. While she died when a 15 and ahalf year-old suicide bomber detonated his explosives near her vehicle, no onebelieves that this boy acted alone.
 
3Ms. Bhutto faced threats from a number of sources; these included Al-Qaida, theTaliban, local jihadi groups and potentially from elements in the PakistaniEstablishment. Yet the Commission found that the investigation focused on pursuinglower level operatives and placed little to no focus on investigating those further upthe hierarchy in the planning, financing and execution of the assassination.The investigation was severely hampered by intelligence agencies and othergovernment officials, which impeded an unfettered search for the truth. Moresignificantly, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) conducted parallel investigations,gathering evidence and detaining suspects. Evidence gathered from such parallelinvestigations was selectively shared with the police.The Commission believes that the failure of the police to investigate effectively MsBhutto’s assassination was deliberate. These officials, in part fearing intelligenceagencies’ involvement, were unsure of how vigorously they ought to pursue actions,which they knew, as professionals, they should have taken.It remains the responsibility of the Pakistani authorities to carry out a serious, crediblecriminal investigation that determines who conceived, ordered and executed thisheinous crime of historic proportions, and brings those responsible to justice. Doingso would constitute a major step toward ending impunity for political crimes in thiscountry.
I.
 
Introduction
1.
 
On 27 December 2007, former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohtarma BenazirBhutto was assassinated as she left a campaign event at Liaquat Bagh, in the Pakistanicity of Rawalpindi. In the attack on Ms Bhutto, 24 other people were killed and 91injured.2.
 
In May 2008, the Government of Pakistan requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to establish an international commission for the purpose of investigating the assassination of Ms Bhutto. After extensive consultations withPakistani officials as well as with members of the United Nations Security Council,the Secretary-General decided to appoint a three member Commission of Inquiry todetermine the facts and circumstances of the assassination of the former primeminister. It was agreed with the Government of Pakistan that the internationalcommission should be fact-finding in nature and not be a criminal investigation. Theduty of carrying out a criminal investigation, finding the perpetrators and bringingthem to justice, remains with the competent Pakistani authorities. On the basis of thisagreement, the Secretary-General wrote to the President of the Security Council, on 2February 2009, informing of his wish to accede to the request and establish a threemember Commission of Inquiry. The President of the Security Council responded on3 February 2009 and took note with appreciation of the intention stated in the

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