The UNCC at a glance


The United Nations Compensation Commission received approximately 2.7 million claims seeking approximately US$352.5 billion in compensation for death, injury, loss of or damage to property, commercial claims and claims for environmental damage resulting from Iraq's unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1991


The claims were resolved by panels, each of which was made up of three Commissioners who were independent experts in different fields including law, accountancy, loss adjustment, insurance and engineering. Technical experts and consultants in their verification and valuation of the claims assisted the panels. The panels submitted their recommendations on the claims to the Governing Council for approval.


The Governing Council is the policy making organ of the Compensation Commission and its membership is the same as that of the Security Council, of which the Commission is a subsidiary body. To date, the Governing Council has adopted all of its decisions, including those on recommendations on compensation and payments, by consensus.


The Compensation Commission secretariat assists the Governing Council and during the claims processing phase, assisted the panels of Commissioners.  The secretariat distributes payments of compensation in accordance with the Commission's Provisional Rules for Claims Procedure and decisions of the Governing Council. Since the establishment of the Commission in 1991, its staff has come from nearly 60 different countries.


The approval by the Governing Council of the last reports and recommendations of the panels of Commissioners at its June 2005 session, marked the completion of 12 years of claims processing at the Compensation Commission and brought to an end the work of the panels of Commissioners, as a whole. Awards of approximately US$52.4 billion have been approved in respect of approximately 1.54 million of these claims, representing roughly 14.9 per cent of the amount claimed. The resolution of such a significant number of claims with such a large asserted value over such a short period has no precedent in the history of international claims resolution.


To date, the Commission has made available to Governments and international organizations approximately US$22.5 billion for distribution to successful claimants in all categories, the vast majority of whom have been paid in full. Funds to pay compensation are drawn from the United Nations Compensation Fund, which receives a percentage of the proceeds generated by export sales of Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products. In conformity with Security Council resolution 1483 (2003), 5 per cent of the proceeds are currently deposited into the Compensation Fund.


As of 1 July 2007, the UNCC secretariat was downsized to a residual format in line with the decision on the phasing out of the UNCC taken by the Governing Council at its fifty-eighth session in December 2005 to maintain the Compensation Fund under the continuing oversight of the Governing Council, supported by a small secretariat. The Commission will focus its work on payments of awards to claimants and the Follow-up Programme to monitor the technical and financial aspects of the environmental remediation projects approved by the Council at its fifty-eighth session in December 2005. 


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