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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Blast inquiry attacks UN security
The shell of the UN HQ in Baghdad after the August attack
The UN Baghdad office was devastated by a car bomb attack
An inquiry into the massive car bomb attack on UN headquarters in Iraq this summer has described security measures as "sloppy" and "dysfunctional".

A report by an independent panel says security regulations and advice were ignored even by the secretary general.

It says the UN had refused protection because it was uncomfortable with American tanks and other measures.

Twenty-two people died in the attack, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, and more than 150 were injured.

'Advice ignored'

"The main conclusion of the panel is that the current security management system is dysfunctional," said the 40-page report.

"The observance and implementation of security regulations and procedures were sloppy and non-compliance with security rules commonplace."

The report did not blame anyone for the security lapse, but recommended that managers be made more accountable for implementing security regulations.

"In the end, I think everyone bears responsibility - the member states who are asking the UN to carry out those responsibilities and, of course... the buck stops always with the secretary general," said former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who chaired the inquiry.

"We need to tighten the ship dramatically," he added.

The inquiry said the UN in Baghdad had asked the US military to withdraw heavy equipment and other protective measures from around the compound in the Canal Hotel because it wanted to divorce itself from the occupation.

"Sloppy" and "dysfunctional" security
Advice ignored
US protection refused
No chain of command, stifling bureaucracy
Slow response
Out-of-date lists of personnel

"Adequate security arrangements may not have been able to prevent the attack against the Canal Hotel perimeter, but would certainly have minimised the vulnerability of the staff and premises and reduced the number of casualties caused by the attack, " the report said.

Even after the bombing, the report added, advice by security personnel was ignored, including by Secretary General Kofi Annan.

> The report, which had been requested by the UN staff union, called for independent professionals to review and reform the UN's security arrangements.

It also said clear guidance was needed by the UN to ensure the safely of its staff worldwide.

Fewer than 50 UN personnel remain in Iraq.

1. Truck seen on access road next to UN compound before it exploded.
2. Explosion destroyed three storeys, including office of Sergio Vieira de Mello
3. Explosion left crater nearly five metres across and two metres deep

The BBC's Susannah Price
"The independent panel's report accuses the UN of major security failures"

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