20 June 2011
11-37946 (E) 210611 210611
Thirty-first report of the Secretary-General pursuant to
paragraph 14 of resolution 1284 (1999)
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 14 of Security Council
resolution 1284 (1999) and covers the developments since 11 December 2010,
following the issuance of the thirtieth report (S/2010/635) on 10 December 2010. It
provides an update on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and
that of missing Kuwaiti property, including national archives.
2. The adoption of Security Council resolutions 1956 (2010), 1957 (2010) and
1958 (2010) in December 2010 lifted several major Chapter VII mandates on Iraq.
This mainly left Iraq’s obligations to Kuwait still outstanding, including with
respect to the files of missing persons and property. The formation of the new
Government of Iraq at the end of 2010 provided a hopeful opportunity for the
resolution of the remaining problems between the two countries.
II. Recent activities with regard to the repatriation and return
of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains
3. Throughout the reporting period, the High-level Coordinator, Ambassador
Gennady Tarasov, focused his activities on the task of building confidence and
cooperation between Kuwait and Iraq with a view to strengthening their practical
engagement in the search for missing persons and property and encouraging them to
achieve visible and significant progress towards the implementation of the
objectives of paragraph 14 of Security Council resolution 1284 (1999).
4. The recent high-level Iraqi-Kuwaiti exchange of visits provided a positive
environment for the Coordinator’s contacts with the representatives of Iraq and
Kuwait as well as with the other members of the Tripartite Commission and its
Technical Subcommittee, which remains the primary body for dealing with the issue
of persons unaccounted for from the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Given the prevailing
spirit of commitment in the Tripartite Commission and the Technical Subcommittee,
Ambassador Tarasov consistently called for further efforts in the search for missing
Kuwaiti and third-country nationals in Iraq in order to achieve tangible progress on
the ground. A priority at this stage was to assist and facilitate the setting up of an
effective mechanism within the framework of the Technical Subcommittee to
conduct regular exploratory missions to sites on Iraqi territory where Kuwaiti and
third-country victims may have been buried. Such a mechanism is necessary to fully
probe the fate of the missing persons.
5. The Coordinator made three visits to the region (in February, April and May)
that coincided with the meetings of the Technical Subcommittee and Tripartite
Commission. On 9 February 2011, he was received by the Deputy Prime Minister
and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Sabah Al-Salem
Al-Sabah, who indicated that the emerging spirit of cooperation between Iraq and
Kuwait needed to be translated into practical and result-oriented steps towards the
resolution of the outstanding issues, including the files of the missing persons and
property. The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that Kuwait would like to work with
Iraq to speed up its compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions.
6. On 14 April 2011, the Coordinator met with the Under-Secretary of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Khaled Al Jarallah. The latter noted that the
task of finding the mortal remains of the Kuwaiti victims should not be “mixed”
with the developments in political relations between Iraq and Kuwait. He reaffirmed
his support for the efforts of the Coordinator and the continuation of his work. This
was echoed by the Acting Chairman of the Kuwaiti National Committee for Missing
Persons and Prisoner of War Affairs. The Kuwaiti officials appreciated the role
played by the United Nations and the Security Council in pursuing this humanitarian
7. On 22 and 23 May 2011, Ambassador Tarasov travelled to Iraq and met with
the Minister for Human Rights, Mohammed S. Al-Sudaney, and other officials. The
Minister underscored the commitment of his Government to meet its obligations
with regard to the issue of the Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, and briefed the
Coordinator on the activities of his Ministry. He noted that the high-level
consultative meeting of the members of the Tripartite Commission held on 18 May
2011 in Baghdad for the first time in many years demonstrated the determination of
all participants to attain speedy progress. Kuwait had provided a grant of $974,000
to help build Iraq’s capacity in mass-grave excavations and identification of missing
persons. He reiterated that Iraq would cooperate with the efforts of the Coordinator
to achieve the objectives of his mandate.
8. After the successful realization of the first joint exploratory mission within the
framework of the Technical Subcommittee, which visited Nassiriyah, Southern Iraq,
in December 2010, the Coordinator was informed that a similar mission was
planned for a site near Khamisiyah suspected to contain the remains of missing
Kuwaiti and third-country nationals. Following the clearing operation at the site
recently undertaken by the Iraqi specialized team, the Technical Subcommittee, in
its meeting on 8 June 2011, decided to carry out this new mission before the end of
June 2011, making it the second such endeavour in six months.
There seemed to be a broad consensus among all concerned that such missions, under the aegis of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and with the strong support of the
members of the Technical Subcommittee, might present a suitable format for further work on the ground. In the view of the Coordinator, shared by his interlocutors, it could become the focus of an effective functional mechanism that would set clear benchmarks for achieving progress in the search for missing persons, referred to in my comprehensive report (S/2009/190, para. 16).
9. While in Kuwait in May 2011, Ambassador Tarasov met with the families of
missing persons to brief them on the current status of efforts to clarify the fate of
their relatives and loved ones.
10. On 26 April 2011, the Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the United
Nations forwarded a letter to the Coordinator from the Deputy Chairman of the
Kuwaiti National Committee for Missing Persons and Prisoner of War Affairs,
which summarizes the information on the Kuwaiti and third-country nationals
whose remains were found in Iraq (see annex).
11. In a related development, a team of experts and forensic specialists from
ICRC, Iraq, Kuwait, the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland carried out a joint field exhumation on 5 and 6 June
2011 along “Highway 80” in Kuwait. Thirty-two sets of remains, presumably of
Iraqi military personnel, some of them with identification tags, were discovered.
They will be handed over to the Iraqi authorities once the necessary procedures have
been completed. Together with the return by Kuwait of the remains of 55 Iraqi
soldiers in 2010, this illustrates the effectiveness of sustained professional efforts in
finding missing people despite the passage of years.
III. Recent activities with regard to the return of
12. I remain concerned that no progress has been made in the search for the
Kuwaiti national archives, and that no credible information about their whereabouts
13. On 23 November 2010, the Prime Minister of Iraq supported the suggestion of
the Coordinator to set up an inter-ministerial committee, which would lead and
coordinate efforts with regard to the missing Kuwaiti archives and other properties.
14. During his most recent visit to Baghdad, the Coordinator urged the
Government of Iraq to set up such an official body at the earliest opportunity to
exert credible efforts to find the archives, to which Kuwait attaches particular
importance. This would further demonstrate Iraq’s determination to resolve this
matter of concern to Kuwait.
15. I believe that the current efforts in the search for missing Kuwaiti and thirdcountry
nationals are gradually moving forward. I encourage the Government of
Iraq to expeditiously take further practical steps towards fulfilling its obligations
under paragraph 14 of Security Council resolution 1284 (1999). The assurances of
the Government of Iraq in this regard are noted. I look forward to being able to
report positively to the Security Council at the earliest opportunity on the concrete
efforts made by the Government of Iraq in the implementation of this resolution. I
value the continued constructive and proactive approach of the Government of
Kuwait in this regard.
16. It appears that the emerging pattern of joint exploratory/excavation missions in
the framework of the Technical Subcommittee is a promising approach for
expediting practical progress on the ground. I welcome and commend the role
played by ICRC and the members of the Technical Subcommittee in this process.
The continued support of the international community and the Security Council
remains essential for successful realization of the mandated tasks.
17. I believe that the task of discovering the fate of missing Kuwaiti and thirdcountry
nationals is urgent and should not be influenced by political factors and
considerations. For this reason, the humanitarian mandate must be insulated as much
as possible from wider regional developments to ensure its effective
18. Now that the organizational and logistical aspects of the search for the missing
persons appear to be in place, the goal of finding and identifying the victims and
finally closing their cases is an imperative. Visible and tangible progress in this
respect, together with other necessary steps on the part of Iraq to fulfil its
obligations towards Kuwait under the relevant Security Council resolutions, should
create a positive momentum and enable the Council to take up my report of 27 July
2009 pursuant to paragraph 5 of resolution 1859 (2008) (S/2009/385).
19. I support the High-level Coordinator’s recommendation that an effective
national mechanism be set up by the Government of Iraq to lead and coordinate
efforts to clarify the fate of the Kuwaiti national archives and other properties and
report the results to the United Nations.
20. I recommend that the Security Council extend the financing of the
Coordinator’s mandate until December 2011 in order to continue to build on the
current momentum towards the implementation of paragraph 14 of resolution 1284
Letter dated 26 April 2011 from the Permanent
Representative of Kuwait to the United Nations addressed
to the High-level Coordinator
I have the honour to enclose herewith a message from His Excellency
Dr. Ibrahim Majed Al-Shaheen, Deputy Chairman of the Kuwaiti National
Committee for Missing Persons and Prisoner of War Affairs addressed to you (see
enclosure), along with an unofficial translation.
(Signed) Mansour Alotaibi
National Committee for Missing Persons and Prisoner of
Date: 18 April 2011
Mr. Gennady Tarasov
I have the honour to refer to the meeting with you that took place on 13 April
2011 at the headquarters of the National Committee for Missing Persons and
Prisoner of War Affairs, at which you were advised of the outcome of the 69th
meeting of the Technical Subcommittee of the Tripartite Commission.
I should like to update you on the retrieval of remains from Iraqi territory in
2003 and 2004. Those remains include all those that were exhumed in Iraqi territory
by technical teams from the State of Kuwait in the presence of representatives of the
Interim Government. No further remains have since been retrieved. In light of
genetic testing and identification conducted by the competent Kuwaiti authorities,
and taking into account that some remains were returned to the Iraqi side after
Kuwait had prepared a genetic profile of each set, the search continues in Iraq for
the burial sites of 350 prisoners. The findings may be summarized as follows:
I. From the Karbala 1 and 2 burial sites, 51 sets of remains retrieved; 48 were
identified and 3 were returned (see table 1).
II. From the Amarah burial site, 37 sets of remains retrieved; 34 were identified
and 3 were returned (see table 2).
III. From the Karbala 4 burial site, 47 sets of remains retrieved; 34 were identified,
11 were returned and 2 were merged (see table 3).
IV. From the Ramadi burial site, 32 sets of remains retrieved; 24 were identified,
2 were returned and 6 were merged (see table 4).
V. From the Samawah, Habbaniyah and Ramadi burial sites, 142 sets of remains
retrieved; 92 were identified, 19 were returned, 27 were merged and 4 were
consumed in testing (see table 5).
VI. From the Sakran and Najaf burial sites, 8 sets of remains retrieved; 5 were
returned and 3 were consumed in testing (see table 6).
Accordingly, 317 sets of remains have been retrieved from Iraqi territory. The
remains of 232 Kuwaiti prisoners of war found in Iraqi territory have been identified
(four other prisoners have been identified at the Sabhan burial site in Kuwait).
Forty-three sets of remains have been returned to the Iraqi authorities with their
genetic information, 35 sets of remains were merged, and 7 were consumed in
testing, as indicated in table 7. Consequently, none of the remains that were
retrieved from Iraqi territory are in the hands of the Kuwaiti authorities.
(Signed) Ibrahim Majed Al-Shaheen
Acting Chairman of the Committeehttp://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/379/46/PDF/N1137946.pdf?OpenElement