IK/2367 25 August 1994 PANEL TO EXAMINE CLAIM OF OVER $950 MILLION FOR KUWAITI OIL-WELL FIRES FOLLOWING IRAQI INVASION Compensation Commission To Appoint Special Panel The secretariat of the Compensation Commission set up by Security Council resolution 692 (1991) to review compensation claims resulting from Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait is preparing the preliminary assessment of the first of the large claims filed with the Commission by Kuwait. The claim was presented by the Kuwait Oil Company and seeks reimbursement for the cost of extinguishing the hundreds of oil wells set afire at the time of the retreat of the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The principal amount being claimed is in excess of $950 million. Because of its economic, environmental and health effects, the burning of the oil wells -- which so altered Kuwait's desert landscape and life -- took on a symbolic character for Kuwait. Conscious of this special importance, the Compensation Commission has decided to appoint, as soon as possible, a separate panel of commissioners to examine the claim and make recommendations to the Governing Council of the Commission. After studying in detail the specifics of the case, the secretariat will draw up a list of experts who possess the expertise and experience, including legal qualifications, to serve on the panel. The candidates for the panel will be proposed to the Secretary-General, who will make nominations to the Governing Council that is to appoint the panel. The panel is to start its work as early as possible, in view of the particular importance and symbolism that this claim has for the people and the Government of Kuwait. * *** * .