The then Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, died during the night of 17th September 1961 in a plane crash in what is now Zambia, where he was headed to mediate in the ongoing conflict in neighbouring The Congo.
The diplomat’s death has been the subject of numerous rumours and conspiracy theories over the past five decades centred around whether the crash was an accident, or if Hammarskjöld was killed.
It is hoped that the new study looking at the tragic events in southern Africa will bring clarity to the case and review new evidence which has come to light in recent years.
The investigation is set to be led by four senior lawyers, including diplomat Hans Corell, and will be presented to the United Nations on completion, according to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian.
A renewed spate of conspiracy theories emerged last September in connection with the anniversary of Hammarskjöld’s death.
While the UN’s own inquiry shortly after the incident put the crash down to pilot error, other diplomats and witnesses have argued that the report was a cover up.
One of the more enduring explanations for his untimely demise is the suspicion that Hammarskjöld paid the price for supporting efforts by the newly independent Congolese government to crush an uprising in Katanga being funded by Western mining companies.
A recent book by the author Susan Williams entitled ‘Who Killed Hammarskjöld?’ also argued that the plane was brought down, and prompted the diplomat’s nephew Knut Hammarskjöld to call for the new inquiry.