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UN Votes To End Iraqi Payments to Victims of 1990 Kuwait Invasion

The UN Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to end Iraq’s compensation of victims of its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. A Security Council resolution adopted in April 1991, after a US-led coalition defeated Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces and liberated Kuwait in the first Gulf War, required Iraq to compensate victims of its illegal invasion using a portion of the proceeds of the country’s petroleum and gas exports. Nearly 31 years later, Baghdad has paid more than $50 billion to 1.5 million claimants. “Ultimately, 2.7 million claims were submitted to the commission seeking $352 billion in compensation,” said Michael Gaffey, Ireland’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva and president of the governing board of the UN Compensation Commission, whose fund decided on the claims. The $52.4 billion awarded to 1.5 million claimants “represents approximately 15% of the total claims,” he told the Security Council. He said priority was given to claims made by individuals who were displaced from Iraq or Kuwait to those who suffered injuries or whose spouse, child, or parent died, or who suffered personal losses of up to $100,000. He described the compensation fund as “a significant step in the evolution of international claims practice.” According to the Security Council resolution adopted Tuesday, “Iraq is no longer required to deposit a percentage of proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas into the fund,” and that the commission’s claims process “is now complete and final and that no further claims shall be made to the commission.”