December 2007 Monthly Forecast

MIDDLE EAST

Iraq/Kuwait

Expected Council Action

On 11 December the Council will likely be briefed by Yuli Vorontsov, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Coordinator for Iraq’s compliance with obligations on Iraq/Kuwait missing persons and return of property. The next report under resolution 1284, which requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on Iraq’s compliance, is due by 5 December. A press statement is expected.

Key Recent Developments
In his latest report in May, the Secretary-General noted that 233 human remains had been identified out of 605 former detainees in Iraq. He noted the serious security challenges confronting searches in Iraq and called on the Iraqi government to bring to justice those responsible for the execution of Kuwaiti civilians during the Iraq/Kuwait war.

On 10 March 2005, the Governing Council of the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) approved $161 million as compensation to family members of 602 former detainees in Iraq determined to be deceased. The Kuwaiti government later confirmed distribution to claimants.

Options
The Council usually adopts a press statement on developments covered in the semi-annual report, particularly on the fate of missing persons and the whereabouts of Kuwait’s missing national archives. The statement also usually condemns the execution of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals by the previous Iraqi regime, expresses condolences to the families of those identified and expresses concern for the plight of families of other missing persons.

Key Issues

An underlying issue is likely to be whether and when to discontinue the mandate. It seems increasingly unlikely that those still missing will be found alive. In addition, Kuwaiti assessment and exhumation teams have been unable to work in Iraq because of the security situation. However, the fate of missing persons, locating their remains, coupled with the disappearance of the national archives, remain important issues for the Kuwaiti government. Vorontsov’s mandate is therefore unlikely to be terminated at this stage.

Council Dynamics
The UK takes the lead in drafting the press statement. There seems to be consensus that the mandate remains useful and no Council member is likely to push the issue because it is important to Kuwait.

UN Documents

Selected Resolutions

  • S/RES/1483 (22 May 2003) decided that 5 percent of Iraqi oil proceeds be deposited into the Compensation Fund unless an internationally recognised Iraqi government and the UNCC Governing Council decide otherwise.
  • S/RES/1284 (17 December 1999) requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the compliance by Iraq with its obligations regarding the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals.
  • S/RES/692 (20 May 1991) established the UNCC and the UN Compensation Fund.
  • S/RES/687 (3 April 1991) established Iraq’s legal responsibility for any direct loss, damage, or injury to foreign governments, nationals and corporations, as a result of Iraq’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Latest Security Council Press Statement

Selected Letters

  • S/2007/657 (7 November 2007) was a letter from the Governing Council of the UNCC declining the Iraqi request to reduce its level of contribution to the Compensation Fund.
  • S/2007/579 (17 September 2007) was a letter from the Council to Iraq noting the position of the Iraqi government in S/2007/526 and reiterating that the matter was being reviewed by the UNCC Governing Council.
  • S/2007/526 (5 September 2007) was a letter from Iraq to the Council requesting a temporary suspension of the obligation to pay compensations with a view to reducing the payments.
  • S/2007/398 (3 July 2007) was a letter from the Governing Council of the UNCC to the Security Council on its latest session held from 20 to 22 June 2007.

Useful Additional Sources

Full forecast