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UN ends Iraq’s requirement to pay victims of Kuwait invasion

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations (UN) Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to end Iraq’s requirement to compensate victims of its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, with Baghdad having paid out more than USD50 billion to 1.5 million claimants.

Ireland’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva and president of the governing board of the UN Compensation Commission Michael Gaffey, whose fund decided on the claims, told the council after the vote that the body’s work was a “historic achievement for the UN and for effective multilateralism”.

“Ultimately, 2.7 million claims were submitted to the commission seeking USD352 billion in compensation,” he said, and the USD52.4 billion awarded to 1.5 million claimants “represents approximately 15 per cent of the total claims”.

Under a Security Council resolution adopted in April 1991 after a United States (US)-led coalition routed Saddam Hussein’s forces and liberated Kuwait in the first Gulf War, Iraq was required to set aside a percentage of proceeds from its oil exports for the fund to compensate victims of the conflict.

That share was five per cent in 2013, when the council voted to end the possible military enforcement of several requirements imposed on Iraq after the invasion in recognition of improved relations with Kuwait. The level stood at three per cent for Iraq’s final payment on January 13.

Gaffey said the governing council adopted its final decision on February 9 declaring that Iraq’s government had fulfilled its international obligations to compensate for losses and damages suffered as a direct result of its unlawful invasion of Kuwait.

He said the fund’s governing council gave priority to claims by individuals who were forced to leave Iraq or Kuwait, to those who suffered injuries or whose spouse, child or parent died, or who suffered personal losses of up to USD100,000. He said this humanitarian decision “marked a significant step in the evolution of international claims practice”.


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