News

USIS Washington 
File

14 April 1998

[EXCERPTS] UNITED NATIONS REPORT, TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 1998


"A WORLD OF NEWS FROM THE WORLD ORGANIZATION"
Daily Highlights
Monday, 13 April, 1998

This daily news round-up is prepared by the Central News Section of
the Department of Public Information.

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-- UN technical experts conclude Iraq's information on its biological
weapons programme is incomplete and inadequate.

-- International Atomic Energy Agency reports "no immediate
indications" of prohibited materials at Iraqi presidential sites.

-- UN human rights expert reports that Iraq may have executed 1,500
people last year for political reasons.

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UN TECHNICAL EXPERTS CONCLUDE IRAQ'S INFORMATION ON ITS BIOLOGICAL
WEAPONS PROGRAMME IS INCOMPLETE AND INADEQUATE


Iraq's disclosure of its biological weapons programme is incomplete
and inadequate, a meeting of UN team of technical experts has
concluded.


The team of experts held a third technical evaluation meeting from 20
to 27 March in Vienna to examine all aspects of Iraq's biological
warfare programme. The team's report has been forwarded to the
Security Council by Richard Butler, the Executive Chairman of the
United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM).


The team found that Iraq's latest disclosure of its biological weapons
programme contained major mistakes, inconsistencies and gaps in
information. The disclosure did not provide a clear understanding of
the current status of the programme or whether or when it was
terminated. The organizational aspects of the programme were not clear
and there was little confidence that its full scope was revealed. The
existence of dormant or additional biological weapons programmes
remained unresolved, the report concludes.


Security Council resolution 707 (1991), requires Iraq to submit a
"full, final and complete disclosure" of its weapons programmes. Since
May 1992, Iraq has submitted a series of disclosures to UNSCOM and, in
1995, acknowledged the existence of an offensive biological weapons
programme. In September 1997, a panel of experts considered the then
latest disclosure incomplete, inadequate and technically flawed.


At the Vienna meeting, the Iraqi delegation promised to improve its
disclosure. The experts said that if the technical evaluation meeting
resulted in a significant improvement in Iraq's declaration, that
would be a positive outcome.


INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY REPORTS "NO IMMEDIATE INDICATIONS"
OF PROHIBITED MATERIALS AT IRAQI PRESIDENTIAL SITES


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reported that its
recent inspections of eight presidential sites in Iraq revealed "no
immediate indications of the presence of prohibited materials or of
the conduct of prohibited activities with respect to the mandate of
IAEA under the relevant Security Council resolutions."


In its latest report to the Security Council, the IAEA indicates that
Iraq has satisfactorily completed its undertaking to produce a
consolidated version of its full, final and complete declaration on
the country's clandestine nuclear activities. Iraq has also fulfilled
its obligation to provide a summary of the technical achievements of
its clandestine nuclear programme.


The IAEA stresses that, while focusing on ongoing verification and
monitoring activities, it will continue to exercise its right to
investigate any aspect of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme. In
particular, the Agency will follow-up on any new information and will
destroy, remove or render harmless any prohibited items discovered
through its investigations.


UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERT REPORTS THAT IRAQ MAY HAVE EXECUTED 1,500
PEOPLE LAST YEAR FOR POLITICAL REASONS


Stating that the human rights situation in Iraq has deteriorated, a
United Nations expert has reported that it is highly probable that
more than 1,500 summary, arbitrary or extrajudicial executions for
political purposes have been carried out last year.


The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights
in Iraq, Max van der Stoel, points to "strong evidence" that since
last August, hundreds of prisoners have been put to death as part of a
"Prison Cleaning Campaign." Executions were reportedly carried out by
shooting, hanging or electrocution, with relatives of the executed
having to pay the value of the bullet used for the executions in order
to recover the bodies. Some of the bodies returned to their respective
families were said to display signs of torture.


Army deserters as well as Islamist activists continue to be subjected
to the death penalty, according to the report. Iraqi law imposes life
imprisonment and, in certain cases, death on anyone insulting the
President.


The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government of Iraq act
immediately to bring an end to summary or arbitrary executions,
arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and ill-treatment by members
of security forces, disappearances of individuals, and forced
relocations. He stresses that persons responsible for those acts must
be brought to justice without delay.


Mr. van der Stoel has been unable to visit Iraq since 1992. His report
is based on information received from governmental, intergovernmental
and non-governmental sources, and by sending human rights monitors to
neighbouring countries.

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