The Governing Council

The Governing Council is the organ of the Commission that sets its policy within the framework of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. As such, it establishes the criteria for the compensability of claims, the rules and procedures for processing the claims, the guidelines for the administration and financing of the Compensation Fund and the procedures for the payment of compensation. It reports regularly to the Security Council on the work of the Commission.

The membership of the Governing Council is the same as that of the fifteen-member Security Council. China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States are thus permanent members. The ten non-permanent members are selected by the General Assembly for two-year terms, with five being replaced each year.

The Governing Council elects its own president and two vice-presidents, each for two-year terms. Thus far, non-permanent members of the Council have always held these positions. The current President is Belgium, with the Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Indonesia holding the two vice-presidencies. 

The Governing Council's guidelines provide for its decisions to be taken by a majority of at least nine of its members, as in the Security Council. However, the right of veto, which is held by the five permanent members in the Security Council, is expressly excluded. To date, however, the Governing Council has adopted all of its decisions by consensus.

The Council usually holds four formal sessions per year, with occasional special sessions to deal with particular issues as they arise. In addition, a number of informal meetings of the Working Group of the Governing Council are held between the formal sessions. The sessions are closed to the public, although non-member States are permitted to address the Council during its opening plenary meetings, and the Governments of both Iraq and Kuwait have regularly done so.

At each session, the Governing Council considers reports on various aspects of the Commission's work and makes decisions on recommendations by the panels of Commissioners on specific "instalments" or groups of claims. The full texts of these decisions and panel reports and recommendations are published on this web site immediately after the end of each session.

The Council is also responsible for approving the budget of the Commission, which is reviewed by the Council's Committee on Administrative Matters. In December 1997, the secretariat presented to the Committee, for the first time, a biennium budget, thus bringing the Commission into line with standard United Nations practice, and this has remained the practice since then.

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