Vienna, 23 September 1998/P/K/16132c-is

In a follow-up to its Memorandum of 14 November 1997 concerning the issue of arms inspections in Iraq, the International Progress Organization calls for the formation of an Independent International Inspection Team to investigate the remaining issues of arms of mass destruction in Iraq.

The inspection teams of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), after seven years of work, have been unable to produce a final report. As explained in the I.P.O.’s earlier Memorandum to the Security Council, this is partly due to the political influence of permanent members of the Security Council that led the anti-Iraq coalition in the war of 1991. The concerns about the objectivity of the UNSCOM inspections expressed by the I.P.O. and many international observers, were proven right after the recent resignation of UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter (USA) who, according to US media reports, is under investigation for collaboration with a foreign secret service.

It is a commonly accepted principle that investigations such as those on the issue of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction have to be carried out by experts who are completely independent and free from any political pressure and who do not collaborate with whichever secret agency of a UN member state. Credibility and trustworthiness is absolutely required to make such difficult investigations successful.

Because of the apparent failure of the UNSCOM team and because of the lack of credibility of the inspection regime established by the Security Council under mainly political considerations, the International Progress Organization proposes the formation of an Independent International Inspection Team to deal with the remaining issues. The expert members of such a team should be chosen on the basis of scientific qualification, neutrality and fairness, i.e. they should only come from countries that were not part of the anti-Iraq coalition of 1991 and they should be independent researchers from Universities or other research institutions with no secret-service background.

The formation of such a team should be entrusted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations because he alone, on the basis of his international status defined in Art. 100 (1) of the UN Charter, has the political independence that is required to carry out the difficult investigative task as originally set by the Security Council. The present Secretary-General, furthermore, personally proved his independence, personal integrity and commitment to the principles of fairness and of the UN Charter in his earlier mission to defuse the crisis between Iraq and the United States.

Because of the humanitarian emergency created by the comprehensive economic sanctions over a period of eight years, the report that is required to implement the measures specified in operative paragraphs 21 and 22 of Security Council resolution 687 (1991) (i.e. the lifting of the sanctions) must not be delayed any longer. The member states of the United Nations bear a special collective responsibility in this matter because the people of Iraq has been subjected, in the name of the United Nations, to a hitherto unknown collective punishment depriving it of its most basic human rights.