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Iraq should prosecute those responsible for 1990-1991 killings – UN report

Iraq should prosecute those responsible for 1990-1991 killings – UN report

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Iraqi Government to bring to justice those responsible for killings that occurred during the 1990 invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait.

In a just-published report to the Security Council on efforts to recover Kuwaiti and third country nationals as well as property lost during the war, Mr. Ban strongly condemns the killings by the previous Iraqi regime.

“The execution of Kuwaiti civilians and a decade-long cover-up of the truth constitute a grave violation of human rights and international humanitarian law,” writes Mr. Ban. “I call on the Government of Iraq to ensure that those responsible for these despicable crimes are brought to justice.”

A total of 233 mortal remains have so far been identified, according to the report. Kuwait has informed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that it will be returning about 40 sets of human remains to Iraq because the test results produced inconclusive results.

Those materials will be returned with DNA profiles and other information which may help Iraq to identify its nationals who lay in mass graves, the report notes.

The Secretary-General acknowledges that “serious security challenges confront continued searches for the Kuwaiti detainees and third-country nationals or their remains in Iraq” but voices hope that efforts by the Tripartite Commission, which includes the United States, will provide an “avenue for the continuation of work and resumption of field operations.”

Also released today is the latest report of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), which describes work on the issue of chemical and biological agents.

In a detailed annex, the report notes that “it may be difficult for Iraq’s authorities to collect a complete set of data on activities in the chemical area in the country without appropriate national regulations and/or requirements on its facilities and other entities” since the Iraqi Government no longer has as much control as in the past.

On biological agents, the report points out that UNMOVIC “has improved its capabilities for assessing whether a biological agent was produced in a particular laboratory, by now having access to the forensic microbiology capabilities of its international network of reference laboratories.”

The Commission adds that this capability “can assist in the genetic identification of micro-organisms and can enable the tracing of its source.”