UN criticised in blast inquiry

23 October 2003
A report released on 23 October by a UN-appointed committee set up to investigate the 19 August attack on its Baghdad headquarters that killed 22 UN officials and associates, including UN special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, has criticised the organisation's security measures in Baghdad. The independent panel, headed by Finland's former president Martti Ahtisaari, described security measures around the organisation's base at the Canal Hotel in central Baghdad as 'sloppy' and 'dysfunctional', and said that the UN had 'failed in [its] mission to provide adequate security to UN staff and security'.

'Adequate security arrangements may not have been able to prevent the attack - but would certainly have minimised the vulnerability of the staff and premises and reduced the number of casualties caused,' said the report.

'In the end, I think everyone bears responsibility: the member states, who are asking the UN to carry out the responsibilities, and of course the secretary-general himself,' Ahtisaari said. 'The buck always stops with the secretary-general.'

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