Heraldo Munoz to lead Bhutto investigation

Your UN ambassador-related gossip from over the weekend:

Chile’s U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz will head a six-month U.N. inquiry into the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday.

Munoz is an upstanding diplomat and a fine choice; he is best remembered for his presence on the Security Council in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003, pushing the United States to give UN weapons inspectors more time to do their job.

His new mission may prove even tougher than trying to dissuade the hawks in the George W. Bush administration from launching a preventive war (and possibly even trickier than captaining a soccer team of fellow UN diplomats). These sort of investigations can turn into a long-lasting adventure (the original inquiry into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, for example, took just a month, but the whole investigation has continued for over four years) and encroach onto very sensitive political territory. Munoz’s commission is a fact-finding one, though, so he has the somewhat good fortune of being able to turn the results over to someone else to figure out what to do with them.

A potentially good sign: another member of the “Bhutto Commission” is the Irishman Peter Fitzgerald, whose experience includes having led the Hariri investigation.