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Rwanda Black Box Not Linked To PLane Crash


UN Probe Finds Rwanda Black Box Not Linked To Fatal Plane Crash

The airplane “black box” discovered earlier this year at United Nations Headquarters in New York – stored in a locked file cabinet for the last 10 years – is not linked to the crash in 1994 that killed the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and set off the Rwandan genocide, a UN probe has concluded.

According to a statement issued yesterday by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the cockpit voice recorder that was shipped to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York by the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) did not contain any relevant information about the crash of that aircraft, which triggered a 100-day killing spree of 800,000 Tutsis and “moderate” Hutus.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan had directed OIOS in March to investigate the matter in response to allegations by the French daily Le Monde that the UN had possession of the black box from the Falcon 50 aircraft that was carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda and his Burundian counterpart, Cyprien Ntaryamira, and which crashed near Kigali International Airport on 6 April 1994.

OIOS said the extensive inquires and research conducted as part of its investigation revealed that much of the media attention to the issue could have been avoided if the Peacekeeping Department had tracked and analyzed the recorder’s contents in 1994. The Department had said the recorder was received in good condition, and its decision at that time not to analyze the box’s origins and contents was made without its existence being reported up the chain of command among peacekeeping officials.

Noting that “much of the recent media attention to the issue could have been avoided” had the Department acted in 1994, OIOS recommended a review of the information flow through the peacekeeping chain of command and strengthened procedures to minimize the risk of important matters not being reported to senior managers, particularly during times of crises and emergency.

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