IK/178 23 March 1995 COMPENSATION COMMISSION GOVERNING COUNCIL CONCLUDES SIXTEENTH SESSION Approves Claims for Compensation to Victims of Iraqi Aggression against Kuwait GENEVA, 22 March (UN Information Service) -- The Governing Council of the United Nations Compensation Commission, established by Security Council resolution 692 (1991) to review compensation claims resulting from Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait, concluded its sixteenth regular session today, approving compensations awards to more than 162,800 claimants. During the three-day session, the Governing Council approved the recommendations of the Panel of Commissioners dealing with individual claims from those who were forced to flee Iraq or Kuwait as a result of the invasion (category A claims) resulting in the award of compensation to more than 162,000 individual claimants. These awards are in addition to those approved at earlier meetings of the Council. The Council also approved the recommendations of the Panel of Commissioners dealing with individual claims for serious personal injury or death (category B claims) that resulted in additional compensation awards for more than 800 claimants, thereby raising the number of claims so far approved under this category to above 4,000. The establishment of the Commission and its examination of hundreds of claims was a major step towards alleviating the condition of thousands of persons who suffered personal losses during the 1991 Gulf war. It was also a move to reaffirm the faith of claimants all over the world in the attainment of international justice within the framework of organs established by the United Nations. The Commission began the work of resolving claims in December 1993, less than two years since they were filed. The process responded to the mandate received from the Security Council to render quick and effective justice to the millions of victims of the invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The Compensation Commission also administers the fund established by the Security Council from which the compensation awards are paid out. Further, it determines Iraq's contribution to the fund and how it will be paid. (more) - 2 - Press Release IK/178 23 March 1995 In addition to categories A and B, claims can also be classified under category C -- individual losses of property up to $100,000. Category B claims were the first to be considered, since they concerned the most sensitive humanitarian cases such as death and serious physical and mental injuries. Upon acceptance of their claims, individuals receive $2,500, while families receive a maximum of $10,000. Claims were submitted to the Commission, as a general rule, in the form of consolidated claims filed by individual governments on their own behalf or on behalf of their citizens and corporations. With the awards made at this session, the overall number of claims so far approved by the Governing Council in the three expedited categories of individual claims (A, B and C) has reached more than 220,000 with an estimated value of $870 million. With the most recent decisions of the Governing Council, all of the 95 governments and 15 international organizations that have filed claims with the Commission have now received compensation awards in at least one or more of the three expedited categories of individual claims. The Governing Council also appointed a Panel of Commissioners to review the claim submitted by the Government of Kuwait on behalf of the Kuwait Oil Company for the cost of extinguishing some 700 oil-well fires following the conclusion of the Gulf war. The Panel of Commissioners is headed by a Chairman, Allan Philip, an international arbitrator from Denmark, and has two other members, Bola Adesumbo Ajibola, a Nigerian and former member of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, and Antoine Antoun, an international auditor and accountant from Lebanon. In addition, the Governing Council accepted claims in various categories submitted by 25 governments and four international organizations after the expiration of the original time-limit of 1 January 1995. However, the Commission accepted claims in only those cases which demonstrated "strong and compelling" reasons as to why the claims could not be filed earlier. The Compensation Commission operates as a subsidiary organ of the Security Council, and the Governing Council has the same membership as the Security Council. At this session, the Governing Council heard statements from four non-member States, in accordance with the rules of procedure of the Security Council. Those countries were Kuwait, Iraq, India and Egypt. Finally, the Governing Council expressed its concern about the current financial situation of the compensation fund, in light of the lack of sufficient funds available for the payment of accumulated unpaid compensation awards. The Council urged prompt action in order to maintain the dynamics of the operation. This session of the Council of the Commission was the first under the presidency of the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ambassador Giuseppe Baldocci, and with Indonesia as the new Vice-President. The three new members of the Security Council for 1995 -- Botswana, Germany and Honduras -- also participated in the proceedings for the first time. * *** * .