ARCHIVED - News Release - Major Paeta Hess-Von Kruedener Board of Inquiry Released

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CEFCOM/COMFEC NR–07.046 - February 1, 2008

OTTAWA - Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM), released today the findings from the Major Paeta Hess-Von Kruedener Board of Inquiry (BOI) that investigated the bombing of the UN Patrol Base Khiam in Southern Lebanon, July 25, 2006.

Major Paeta Hess-Von Kruedener was serving as a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) stationed at the UN Patrol Base in Khiam South Lebanon.  On the evening of July 25th 2006, at approximately 7:30 p.m., he and three other UN Military Observers were killed when their patrol base was struck by an Israeli bomb.

“This was a tragic accident that demonstrates the very real dangers inherent in the work that members of the Canadian Forces are asked to do on a daily basis,” said General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff. “The Board’s findings and recommendations will improve the safety of the young men and women who proudly wear our uniform. Major Hess-Von Kruedener did not die in vain and we shall never forget his ultimate contribution in the pursuit of peace.”

Major Hess-Von Kruedener along with the other Military Observers, were working in support to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).  Canada’s contribution to UNTSO is called Operation JADE.

At the time of the incident Israel and Hezbollah were involved in an armed conflict, which began on 12 July 2006 with the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers and quickly expanded into a large-scale incursion into southern Lebanon by the Israeli Defence Forces.  The UN observers, interposed between the two belligerent forces, were subsequently exposed to artillery and aerial attacks.  As the shelling and bombing in the vicinity of Patrol Base Khiam increased in frequency and accuracy, the decision was made to evacuate, but the fatal bomb was dropped before the four observers could be withdrawn.

A BOI is an administrative inquiry normally convened to examine and report on complex or significant events. It serves to determine what occurred, how and why it occurred and proposes measures that might prevent the possibility of recurrence. It is not a criminal investigation.

A summary of the Maj Hess-Von Kruedener BOI findings and a statement from Lieutenant-General Gauthier, Commander CEFCOM, the convening authority for the BOI, are available at :
http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/focus/Hess-Von-Kruedener/index-eng.asp

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Notes to Editors and News Directors:

Appropriate portions of the BOI final report have been severed out in accordance with Access to Information regulations to protect the operational security of the IDF and the UN. However the essence of the report remains and tells the story of what happened that night.