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It is the beginning of the hearings. After the revocation of immunity of all UN personnel involved in Paciolla case, three United Nations officials in Colombia were called to the Prosecutor's Office to be interrogated, in an attempt to find out the truth about the death of Mario Paciolla, 33-year-old UN Italian field officer and collaborator of the UN Mission. His lifeless body was found on July 15 in the apartment in San Vicente del Caguan, 600 kilometers away from Bogotà, by his work colleagues, who alerted the family and called the police. On the next day, however, they collected Paciolla's personal effects from his room and cleaned the house (altering thus the crime scene) and returned the keys to the owner.

The three UN members called to the Prosecutor's office are: a colleague particularly close to Mario Paciolla, the UN security officer in Colombia Christian Thompson and, first of all, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, head of the Verification Mission appointed in 2018 directly by António Guterres, the General Secretary who, on several occasions, reiterated his desire to collaborate with the judicial authorities of Bogotà and Rome.

The Mission
Beyond Ruiz Massieu, there are other two officials at the top of the Mission: the first is Karla Gabriela Samayoa Recari, who, before being appointed Deputy Head of Colombia worked at the Guatemalan embassy in Italy. The second is Raúl Rosende, who has long been involved in peace operations for the UN as mediator between state authorities and paramilitary groups also in Syria, Yemen and Nicaragua, as well as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The director of the verification area of ​​the agency has already being involved in the journalistic investigation on El Espectador carried out by the Colombian journalist Claudia Julieta Duque. The reporter, a friend of Paciolla, speculated that he was the one who transmitted the information to Senator Roy Barreras, which in 2019 were used to attack the defense minister of Colombia Guillermo Botero, who was then forced to resign. This news leak would have sparked tensions within the organization and caused Paciolla's concerns, being one of the authors of this report. Such reconstruction of the facts has been, however, denied on several occasions by the parties involved, who will be now able to further clarify their position.

"We have the right to know quickly how Mario Paciolla died," urges Senator Sandro Ruotolo. "Everything suggests it has been a disguised murder, not a suicide, as claimed by the family and friends of the young Italian man since the beginning". And he concludes: "While we wait for the results of the autopsy, carried out in Bogota and Rome, we must intensify the mobilization and press the Italian government and the international institutions in order to obtain truth and justice".

By Maria Pirro


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