International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Winter 2014 Issue

Special Bulletin

Action by U.N. Secretary-General on Hammarskjold Commission Report

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban ki-moon, on February 4, 2014, requested for inclusion as an additional item in the agenda for the UN’s 68th session the “Investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjold and of members of the party accompanying him.” UN Secretary-General Hammarskjold died in an airplane crash in September, 1961 during a diplomatic trip to Africa.

This agenda addition occurred as a result of the report of a special, independent, informal commission of inquiry that was recently established and funded by individuals from various countries. The responsibility of this new commission was  “to provide an opinion on whether there was new evidence that would justify the United Nations reopening” an earlier inquiry. The commission concluded that there was enough new evidence to justify such a reopening. It stated that there was “persuasive evidence that the aircraft [in which Hammarskjold was a passenger] was subjected to some sort of attack…” The commission’s report was presented at the Peace Palace in The Hague in September, 2013.

After the airplane crash in 1961 there were three inquiries into the causes of the crash, including a 1962 one by the United Nations, but the results of these investigations were inconclusive – they cited pilot error or some sort of sabatoge as possible explanations.

The unofficial commission was composed of  Ambassador Hans Corell of Sweden, Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, Justice Wilhelmina Thomassen of the Netherlands, and chaired by Sir Stephen Sedley of the United Kingdom. Ambassador Corell and Judge Goldstone are regular contributors to the International Judicial Monitor.

For further information about the informal commission and the 1961 death of Secretary-General Hammarskjold, see Judge Goldstone’s Special Report in the Summer 2013 issue of the Monitor. Click here to see this article.


« Back to the Home Page








ASIl & International Judicial AcademyInternational Judicial Monitor
© 2014 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
IJM welcomes comments, suggestions, and submissions.
Please contact the IJM editor at