UN SG appoints Tanzania CJ to lead Independent Panel of Experts in investigating death of Dag Hammarskjöld

The UN Secretary-General appoints Tanzania Chief Justice to lead Independent Panel of Experts to examine and assess the probative value of new information
related to the tragic death of late Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld
and of the members of the party accompanying him


16 MARCH 2015: On 29 December 2014, the UN General Assembly in its resolution 69/246 requested the Secretary-General to appoint an independent panel of experts to examine, and assess the probative value, of new information related to the tragic death, in September 1961, of Dag Hammarskjöld and the members of the party accompanying him.

The General Assembly also encouraged Member States to release any relevant records in their possession and to provide to the Secretary-General relevant information related to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld.

The UN Secretary-General is today pleased to announce that he has appointed the following as members of the Independent Panel of Experts:

Mr. Mohamed Chande Othman (United Republic of Tanzania) as Head of the Panel

Ms. Kerryn Macaulay (Australia)

Mr. Henrik Larsen (Denmark)

The Independent Panel of Experts will, inter alia, review and assess the probative value of the information provided to the Secretary-General by the Hammarskjöld Commission as well as any relevant records or information released by Member States or by other sources.

The Independent Panel of Experts will commence its work on 30 March 2015 and submit its report to the Secretary-General no later than 30 June 2015.


Mr. Mohamed Chande Othman (United Republic of Tanzania) was appointed Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2010 after serving as a Justice of the Court of Appeal of Tanzania and a Judge of the High Court. From 1998 – 2001, he was the Chief of Prosecutions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and thereafter Prosecutor General in Timor Leste serving with the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Prior to that, he served as Head of Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent to Guinea and to Viet Nam. He has held several appointments with the UN Human Rights Council, served as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Archives of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia and was appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2007 to serve as Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the Relocation of Pastoralists. He is a graduate of the University of Dar Es Salaam and Webster University and has attended courses at The Hague Academy of International Law.

Ms. Kerryn Macaulay (Australia) is Australia’s Representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). She has also served as Chair of the ICAO Council’s Air Transport Committee (2012-13). She joined the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in 1995 as an air accident investigator, and worked in a wide range of agency operations including with a focus on investigations, safety analysis and research. She led a number of significant ATSB projects including on the development of multi-modal transport safety investigation legislation and on the implementation of the ATSB’s Safety Investigation Information Management System. She is a commercial pilot and flight instructor with an Airline Transport Pilot License. She is a trained teacher, holds a Diploma of Transport Safety Investigation and an Executive Masters of Public Administration.

Mr. Henrik Ejrup Larsen (Denmark) is a ballistics expert at the National Center of Forensic Services in the Danish National Police where he has served for the last 25 years working on all stages up to and including court proceedings. He has also served as Staff Sergeant 1st Class in the Royal Danish Guards and is a graduate of the Copenhagen Engineering College in Mechanical Engineering and of the Strathclyde University of Scotland: Chartered Society of Forensic Science. He is member of the European Firearms Experts and a member of the INTERPOL Ballistic Information Network (IBIN) Steering Committee. He has participated in training with the Royal Thai Police in Bangkok, Thailand; the Forensic Science University in Gujarat, India; and the Forensic Police Academy in Beijing, China.


Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjold was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations from 10 April 1953 until 18 September 1961 when he met his death in a plane accident while on a peace mission in the Congo. He was born on 29 July 1905 in Jonkoping in south-central Sweden. The fourth son of Hjalmar Hammarskjold, Prime Minister of Sweden during the years of World War I, and his wife Agnes, M.C. (b. Almquist), he was brought up in the university town of Uppsala where his father resided as Governor of the county of Uppland.

At 18, he was graduated from college and enrolled in Uppsala University. Majoring in French history of literature, social philosophy and political economy, Mr. Hammarskjold received, with honors, his Bachelor of Arts degree two years later. The next three years he studied economics, at the same university, where he received a "filosofic licenciat" degree in economics at the age of 23. He continued his studies for two more years to become a Bachelor of Laws in 1930.

Mr. Hammarskjold then moved to Stockholm, where he became a secretary of a governmental committee on unemployment (1930-1934). At the same time he wrote his doctor's thesis in economics, entitled, "Konjunkturspridningen" (The Spread of the Business Cycle). In 1933 he received his doctor's degree from the University of Stockholm, where he was made assistant professor in political economy.

At the age of 31 and after having served one year as secretary in the National Bank of Sweden, Mr. Hammarskjold was appointed to the post of Permanent Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance. He concurrently served as Chairman of the National Bank's Board, from 1941 to 1948. Six of the Board's members are appointed by Parliament and the Chairman by the Government. This was the first time that one man had held both posts, the Chairmanship of the Bank's Board and that of Under-Secretary of the Finance Ministry.

Early in 1945, he was appointed an adviser to the Cabinet on financial and economic problems, organizing and coordinating, among other things, different governmental planning for the various economic problems that arose as a result of the war and the postwar period. During these years, Mr. Hammarskjold played an important part in shaping Sweden's financial policy. He led a series of trade and financial negotiations with other countries, among them the United States and the United Kingdom.

In 1947 he was appointed to the Foreign Office, where he was responsible for all economic questions with rank of Under-Secretary. In 1949, he was appointed Secretary-General of the Foreign Office and in 1951, he joined the Cabinet as Minister without portfolio. He became, in effect, Deputy Foreign Minister, dealing especially with economic problems and various plans for close economic cooperation.

He was a delegate to the Paris Conference in 1947, when the Marshall Plan machinery was established. He was his country's chief delegate to the 1948 Paris Conference of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC). For some years he served as Vice-Chairman of the OEEC Executive Committee. In 1950, he became Chairman of the Swedish Delegation to UNISCAN, established to promote economic cooperation between the United Kingdom and the Scandinavian countries. He was also a member (1937-1948) of the advisory board of the government-sponsored Economic Research Institute.

He was Vice-Chairman of the Swedish Delegation to the Sixth Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Paris 1951-1952, and acting Chairman of his country's delegation to the Seventh General Assembly in New York in 1952-1953.

Although he served with the Social-Democratic cabinet, Mr. Hammarskjold never Joined any political party, regarding himself as an independent, politically.

On 20 December 1954, he became a member of the Swedish Academy. He was elected to take the seat in the Academy previously held by his father.

Elected to two terms as Secretary-General

Mr. Hammarskjold was unanimously appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations by the General Assembly on 7 April 1953 on the recommendation of the Security Council. He was reelected unanimously for another term of five years in September 1957.

During his terms as Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjold carried out many responsibilities for the United Nations in the course of its efforts to prevent war and serve the other aims of the Charter.

In the Middle East these included: continuing diplomatic activity in support of the Armistice Agreements between Israel and the Arab States and to promote progress toward better and more peaceful conditions in the area; organization in 1956 of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) and its administration since then; clearance of the Suez Canal in 1957 and assistance in the peaceful solution of the Suez Canal dispute; organization and administration of the United Nations Observation Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL) and establishment of an office of the special representative of the Secretary-General in Jordan in 1958.

In 1955, following his visit to Peking, 30 December 1954 - 13 January 1955, 15 detained American fliers who had served under the United Nations Command in Korea were released by the Chinese People's Republic. Mr. Hammarskjold also traveled to many countries of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East, either on specific assignments or to further his acquaintance with officials of member governments and the problems of various areas.

On one of these trips, from 18 December 1959 to 31 January 1960, the Secretary-General visited 21 countries and territories in Africa -- a trip he described later as "a strictly professional trip for study, for information", in which he said he had gained a "kind of cross-section of every sort of politically responsible opinion in the Africa of today".

Later in 1960, when President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of the Congo sent a cable on 12 July asking "urgent dispatch" of United Nations military assistance to the Congo, the Secretary-General addressed the Security Council at a night meeting on 13 July and asked the Council to act "with utmost speed" on the request. Following Security Council actions the United Nations Force in the Congo was established and the Secretary-General himself made four trips to the Congo in connection with the United Nations operations there. The first two trips to the Congo were made in July and August 1960. Then, in January of that year, the Secretary-General stopped in the Congo while en route to the Union of South Africa on another mission in connection with the racial problems of that country. The fourth trip to the Congo began on 12 September and terminated with the fatal plane accident.

In other fields of work, Mr. Hammarskjold was responsible for the organization in 1955 and 1958 of the first and second UN international conference on the peaceful uses of atomic energy in Geneva, and for planning a UN conference on the application of science and technology for the benefit of the less developed areas of the world held in 1962.

He held honorary degrees from Oxford University, England; in the United States from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Amherst, John Hopkins, the University of California, Uppsala College, and Ohio University; and in Canada from Carleton College and from McGill University.