(AFP, Kuwait City) - Kuwaiti government agencies and hundreds of individuals have filed lawsuits against Baghdad for criminal offences committed during Iraq's seven-month occupation, a lawyer said Monday.
The suits, worth millions of dollars in damages for hardships and personal injury, have been filed ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion, the lawyer, who asked not to be named, told AFP.
The fresh claims are separate from the compensation awarded to hundreds of thousands of Kuwaitis and other nationals by the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC), set up by the Security Council after the 1991 Gulf War.
Investigation into the fresh cases has already begun, but the courts are not expected to start hearings before September.
Kuwait's Prosecutor General Sultan Boujarwah said initial estimates indicate as many as 250,000 cases will be filed against Iraqi officials and soldiers for alleged crimes committed during the occupation.
Through its compensation agency, Kuwait has submitted claims to the UNCC worth more than $150 billion, but so far only payments worth a few billions have been approved.
According to the lawyer, Kuwaitis and foreigners who lived in Kuwait during the invasion and who have received compensation from the UNCC could still claim more compensation before civil courts.
Legal firms in Kuwait and the United States are working to ensure payment through Iraqi assets abroad that were frozen following the invasion of August 2, 1990.
During the occupation, which was rolled back by the Gulf War, hundreds of Kuwaitis and foreigners were killed, while many others complained of torture and physical abuse.
Meanwhile, a former Kuwaiti colonel on death row for heading a puppet government after the invasion sued Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Monday for war crimes, his lawyer said.
"Today, I filed a lawsuit on behalf of my client Alaa Hussein Ali against the head of the Iraqi regime, to the office of the attorney general. We demanded pressing a criminal case against Saddam," Nawaf Sari said.
The suit accuses the Iraqi leader of forcibly detaining Alaa and forcing him to head the week-long puppet government, which was the basis for his conviction for high treason.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )