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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 19 June 2009 - Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Bhutto Commission

The Secretary-General has informed the Government of Pakistan, by letter to President Asif Ali Zardari, that the Commission of Inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto will commence its six month mandate on 1 July 2009. The Commission will be composed of the Permanent Representative of Chile, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz, as the head of the Commission; Mr. Marzuki Darusman of Indonesia; and Mr. Peter Fitzgerald of Ireland. (The biographies of the three Commissioners follow below.)

In accordance with the agreed Terms of Reference, the Commission's mandate will be to inquire into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of former Prime Minister Bhutto. The duty of determining criminal responsibility of the perpetrators of the assassination remains with the Pakistani authorities. The Commission will submit its report to the Secretary-General within six months of the commencement of its activities. The Secretary-General will share the report with the Government of Pakistan and submit it to the Security Council for information.

The Secretary-General notes that the anniversary of the birth of former Prime Minister Bhutto is on 21 June, and is a reminder of the tragic loss suffered by her family and the Pakistani people. The United Nations is committed to assisting Pakistan by determining the facts and circumstances of her death.

Biographies of the Members

Mr. Heraldo Muñoz has been the Chilean Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 2003. He has served as President of the Security Council in January 2004, and is currently the Chairman of the UN Peace-building Commission. Ambassador Muñoz was also the Deputy Foreign Minister of Chile from March 2000 to January 2002, and served as Chile's Ambassador to Brazil in 1994-1998. He is a co-founder of Chile's Party for Democracy, and has held several government posts in the democratic era. He is also a prominent author and academic. Ambassador Muñoz holds a PhD in International Studies from the University of Denver, USA, and diploma with Honors from the Catholic University of Chile.

Mr. Marzuki Darusman was the Attorney General of the Republic of Indonesia for the period 1999 to 2001. He is a member of the National Commission of Human Rights in Indonesia (Komnas HAM). Mr. Darusman served as Chairman of the Joint Fact Finding Commission established in Indonesia with regard to the riots of May 1998. Mr. Darusman graduated in 1974 from the International Maritime Law Faculty, University of Parahyangan.

Mr. Peter Fitzgerald had a distinguished 45-year career with the Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police, before retiring as Deputy Commissioner for Strategic and Resource Management in 2008. He has served the UN in a number of capacities, including as Commissioner of the International Police Task Force in Bosnia in 1996-97, police expert on the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN personnel in Iraq in 2003 and head of the Mission of Inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005.

Statements on 19 June 2009