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 established 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. The Governing Council 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 Spain, with Jordan and Malaysia 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, except with regard to the method of ensuring that payments are made to the Compensation Fund, which must be decided upon by consensus. However, the right of veto, which is held by the five permanent members in the Security Council, is expressly excluded. To date, the Governing Council has adopted all of its decisions, including those on recommendations on compensation and payments, by consensus.
The Governing Council convenes at regular intervals in formal Governing Council 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 Iraq and Kuwait have regularly done so. In between these formal sessions, a number of informal meetings of the Working Group of the Governing Council are held. Up until 2006, the Council generally held four formal sessions per year, to consider various aspects of the Commission’s work, mostly related to the processing and payment of claims. The Council made decisions on recommendations by the panels of Commissioners on specific “instalments” or groups of claims. The full text of these decisions and panel reports and recommendations are available on this web site. With the completion of claims processing in 2005, two formal sessions are now held each year.
Finally, the Council’s Committee on Administrative Matters is responsible for reviewing and providing guidance on major administrative and budgetary matters presented to it by the Executive Secretary, including approving a biennium budget of the Commission, which is funded out of the Compensation Fund.