Note to Correspondents on questions concerning the death of Mario Paciolla
Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
In response to questions asked at the noon briefing, the Spokesperson has the following to say:
We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague in Colombia, Mr. Mario Paciolla, and we reiterate the expressions of condolences that have been extended to his family and the Government of Italy, as well as our gratitude for his service to the Verification Mission and the cause of peace in Colombia.
We reaffirm that the United Nations is cooperating fully with the Colombian authorities responsible for determining with certainty the cause of death. The Verification Mission, with all necessary support from UN Headquarters, has responded to all requests for assistance. This has included the lifting of immunities to permit interviews with colleagues of Mr. Paciolla and through facilitating all requests to review personal effects and work equipment as part of the investigation.
We have also been in close communication with the Government of Italy, through its Embassy in Bogota and its representation at the United Nations in New York. We have coordinated on matters including the discrete transfer of Mr. Paciolla’s remains to Italy in respect of the wishes of the family, and the delivery of his personal effects. The United Nations has also assured the Government of Italy of the UN’s cooperation with requests arising from investigations that may be undertaken by Italian authorities.
It is through this cooperation with the relevant investigations that the UN can best contribute to what all concerned wish to see, that the circumstances of Mario Paciolla’s death are fully clarified. While awaiting the results of those investigations and cooperating fully with them, we do not intend to comment about details of the case or speculate about the outcome of the investigations as it would be inappropriate to do so.