Compensation awards against Iraq for damages resulting from its 1990 invasion of Kuwait reached $34.4 billion dollars after the latest assessment of claims, the United Nations said, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The Geneva-based UN Compensation Commission awarded $2.3 billion dollars in awards to Kuwait to cover claims by ministries and other government bodies, the report said.
The Commission was set up in May 1991 after US-led forces drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait, ending a seven-month occupation of the Arabian Gulf country.
The fund, to aid governments, corporations and individuals affected by the invasion, is financed by a levy on Iraqi oil revenue, which was fixed at 30 percent. Only $11 billion of the total amount awarded has been paid out so far.
Iraq is also facing claims of as much as $46 billion for environmental damage it caused during the Gulf War, Reuters said. The commission debated a resolution proposed by Russia and France to provide technical help to Iraq to defend the lawsuit, it reported.
Six countries in the region, Kuwait, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, are demanding the compensation.
“These environmental claims are for the pollution which resulted from the burning oil wells and flowing of oil into the sea,” Reuters quoted Mojtaba Kazizi, chief of the UNCC's governing council secretariat, as saying.
The cost of cleaning up the oil and damage to agriculture and public health was among the claims cited in the compensation demand, he said.
The United Nations Compensation Commission is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations Security Council. It was established by the Council in 1991 to process claims and pay compensation for losses resulting from Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Compensation is payable to successful claimants from a special fund that receives a percentage of the proceeds from sales of Iraqi oil.
The Security Council established Iraq's legal responsibility for such losses in its resolution 687 of 3 April 1991:
"Iraq...is liable under international law for any direct loss, damage, including environmental damage and the depletion of natural resources, or injury to foreign Governments, nationals and corporations, as a result of Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait.” -- Albawaba.com
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