Black box from Rwanda turned over to UNs top watchdog official

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The cockpit voice recorder was given to Under-Secretary-General Dileep Nair, head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), who is inquiring into the circumstances in which senior officials were not informed that it had reached UN Headquarters, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said.Yesterday Mr. Eckhard announced that after an internal inquiry – prompted by reporters’ questions – a black box turned up on Wednesday in a locked filing cabinet in the Air Safety Unit of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Following the discovery, Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered OIOS – the UN’s in-house watchdog – to look into exactly what happened 10 years ago and how the UN came into possession of the device.A recent article in the French newspaper Le Monde alleged that the UN was given the black box from the Falcon aircraft that crashed on 6 April 1994 in Rwanda, killing President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and his Burundian counterpart Cyprian Ntayamira. Their deaths set off a chain of killings and massacres throughout Rwanda that year, with the death toll from the genocide mounting to more than 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis and “moderate” Hutu.According to Mr. Eckhard, the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was consulted and advised that the black box should be sent to an agency competent to read out its contents in the presence of an ICAO monitor.”The arrangements required are under way, and the black box will be carried by hand for the read out,” he said. “When this is received by the United Nations, the next steps will be decided.”

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