| GEO Pakistan|
| UN probe of BB assassination to begin July 1|
| Updated at: 0349 PST, Saturday, June 20, 2009|
UNITED NATIONS: A U.N. commission will begin a six-month investigation on July 1 into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the U.N. announced Friday.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon informed Bhutto's husband, President Asif Ali Zardari, that the United Nations "is committed to assisting Pakistan by determining the facts and circumstances of her death," U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.
Bhutto was killed in a Decmber 27, 2007 gun-and-suicide bomb attack as she was leaving a rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, where she was campaigning to return her Pakistan People's Party to power in parliamentary elections.
The three-member commission will be led by Chile's U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz, a dissident during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet who heads the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission, Montas said.
The other members are former Indonesian attorney general Marzuki Darusman, who is now a member of the National Commission of Human Rights, and Ireland's former deputy police commissioner Peter Fitzgerald, who has served the U.N. in a number of capacities including heading the initial mission of inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, she said.
The Pakistani government has been urging the U.N. to investigate Bhutto's assassination.
Under terms agreed to by the U.N. and the Pakistani government, Montas said the commission's mandate will be "to inquire into the facts and circumstances" of her death.
"The duty of determining criminal responsibility of the perpetrators of the assassination remains with the Pakistani authorities," Montas said.
She said the commission will submit its report to the secretary-general within six months and he will share it with the Pakistani government. Ban will also submit the report to the U.N. Security Council "for information" purposes, she said.