Thursday, October 9, 2008

Algeria: UN slammed for poor response to 2007 bomb attack


Algeria: UN slammed for poor response to 2007 bomb attack

New York, 9 Oct. (AKI) - Bad management, poor supervision and training, and significant lapses in judgement all played a major role in the devastating 2007 terrorist bombings that targeted the United Nations offices in Algiers, an independent panel has found.

Seventeen staff members were killed in the brutal attack carried out by a local group linked to Al-Qaeda in December 2007.

The independent panel on accountability, led by former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Ralph Zacklin, was set up by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June to look into the response to the 2007 attack.

The panel found that the UN phase system that graded security risks in Algeria had been “seriously compromised” through politicisation. 

It also accused UN security officials of having a preoccupation with countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, instead of Algeria.

“The dysfunction of the present system is not attributable to a lack of resources alone,” the panel said.

“It is also attributable to a failure on the part of those who designed it and those who implemented it.”

Zacklin told a media conference that an administrative measure could be something as simple as a letter of reprimand while a disciplinary action could be something as serious as a dismissal. 

The panel also recommended an administrative measure against “an organ of collective responsibility,” in this case the UN Security Management Team in Algiers.

The report, which was presented to Ban cited a “marked reluctance” of some of those interviewed to accept the panel’s procedures and methods of work. 

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