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Next Steps for the UN Commission of Inquiry

A one-day online conference, hosted by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, and Westminster United Nations Association

The online conference is open to everyone around the globe. You will receive a Zoom link before the conference.   

The death of UN Secretary-General Hammarskjöld in a plane crash near Ndola, Zambia (then British-ruled Northern Rhodesia) in September 1961 shocked the world and swiftly gave rise to suspicion of foul play. That suspicion was re-awakened by the publication in 2011 of Susan Williams’s book Who Killed Hammarskjöld? and a conference on the subject held that year by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Westminster United Nations Association. Since then, the United Nations reopened its earlier inquiry into Hammarskjöld’s death, and the UN Secretary-General appointed Justice Mohamed Chande Othman to lead the investigation. In September 2024, Justice Othman will report to the Secretary-General.   

The conference will provide an opportunity to examine and assess: 

  • key research and analysis undertaken by the UN inquiry;
  • continuing lack of cooperation by the governments of the US, UK, and South Africa, and how this might be tackled;
  • Hammarskjöld’s impact at the UN and in support of decolonisation; and 
  • challenges facing UN inquiries, especially those concerning access to intelligence and security information. 

A report of the conference will be submitted to Justice Othman.  

Please view the programme here.

Keynote address: Ambassador Jan Eliasson (former UN Deputy Secretary-General and former Swedish Foreign Minister)

Other speakers and participants: Kingsley Abbott (ICwS), Mandy Banton (ICwS), Lord Boateng (former UK Cabinet Minister), Knox Chitiyo (Africa Fellow, Chatham House), Joe Lauria (former UN correspondent, Wall Street Journal), Roger Lipsey (author Hammarskjöld: A Life), Ian Martin (former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General), Henning Melber (Uppsala University), Stuart Mole (ICwS), Rt Revd Trevor Musonda Mwamba (President, United National Independence Party, Zambia), Thant Myint-U (Christ’s College, Cambridge), Alanna O’Malley (Leiden University), Maurin Picard (US correspondent, Le Figaro), Sir Stephen Sedley (former Lord Justice of Appeal in England and Wales, chair of the independent Hammarskjöld Commission), David Wardrop (chair, Westminster UNA), Susan Williams (ICwS, author Who Killed Hammarskjöld?)  

Conference convened by Mandy Banton (ICwS), David Wardrop (Westminster UNA), Susan Williams (ICwS)

Image credit: UN Photo/JO