Governing Council

     The Governing Council was the organ of the Commission that set 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 reported regularly to the Security Council on the work of the Commission.

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

     The Governing Council elected its own president and two vice-presidents, each for two-year terms. Non-permanent members of the Council always held these positions. 

     The Governing Council’s guidelines provided 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 required a consensus. However, the right of veto, which is held by the five permanent members in the Security Council, was expressly excluded. The Governing Council adopted all of its decisions, including those on recommendations on compensation and payments, by consensus.

     The Governing Council convened at regular intervals in formal Governing Council sessions. The sessions were closed to the public, although non-member States were permitted to address the Council during its opening plenary meetings, and the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait regularly did so. In between these formal sessions, a number of informal meetings of the Working Group of the Governing Council were 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, fewer formal sessions were held each year. 

     Finally, the Council’s Committee on Administrative Matters was responsible for reviewing and providing guidance on major administrative and budgetary matters presented to it by the Executive Secretary, including approving the budget of the Commission, which was funded out of the Compensation Fund.