Secretary-General reports little progress in search for remains of missing Kuwaitis in Iraq

Secretary-General reports little progress in search for remains of missing Kuwaitis in Iraq

The search for the remains of Kuwaiti prisoners of war and third-country nationals missing since Iraq’s occupation of its small neighbour 14 years ago has not progressed substantially in recent months because of the difficult security situation, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the issue.

The search for the remains of Kuwaiti prisoners of war and third-country nationals missing since Iraq’s occupation of its small neighbour 14 years ago has not progressed substantially in recent months because of the difficult security situation, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the issue.

Out of a total of 605 cases, the fate of some 270 is still unknown “but, regrettably, the chances that they may be found alive have diminished with time,” he adds in his 18th four-monthly report mandated by the Security Council, but he praises the cooperation of the new Iraqi authorities in returning remains and property.

Of the remains that have so far been returned, only 222 have been identified.

“Again, I strongly condemn the execution of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals by the previous Iraqi regime in violation of human rights and international humanitarian law,” Mr. Annan writes. “I call on the newly installed Government of Iraq to ensure that those responsible for these despicable crimes are brought to justice.”

Iraq is preparing to try ousted President Saddam Hussein and many of his collaborators.