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Humanitarian considerations in the work of the United Nations Compensation Commission

30-09-2003 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 851, by Fred Wooldridge, Olufemi Elias

This paper examines the central role played by humanitarian considerations in the work of the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). It discusses the mandate of the Commission, its working methods, its resources and its role amidst other institutions and processes resulting from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1991. From this analysis some conclusions are drawn as to how and to what extent the UNCC could serve as a model for future war reparations processes.

   

Fred Wooldridge and Olufemi Elias
Respectively Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary and Legal Adviser, United Nations Compensation Commission, Geneva. The views expressed here are those of the authors only, and are not intended to represent the official views of the United Nations Compensation Commission. 
   
Abstract 
The United Nations Compensation Commission was set up by the Security Council to review claims and pay compensation to the victims of Iraq’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait (1990-1991). This paper examines the central role played by humanitarian considerations in the work of the Commission, with particular reference to the claims review process and the mechanisms established for the distribution of compensation to successful claimants. The paper also considers the source of income into the United Nations Compensation Fund (from which payments of compensation are made) against the background of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and distinguishes between the mandate of the Commission and other institutions and processes established by the Security Council following the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The paper considers the extent to which the central role accorded to humanitarian considerations co uld serve as a model for future war reparations processes.  

   
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