L. Paul Bremer, III
Coalition Provisional Authority
Victims’ Compensation Fund
26 May 2004
Sayidaati u Saadati
Iraq is an immensely better place than it was before liberation last April.
One fact towers above all others in the Iraqi political landscape.
The Iraqi people want a government that is responsive to their needs. They know
that democracy, a government which must respond to their ballots, is the path to
And the path they wish to follow is well-marked. The Interim Government
appointed within the coming week will assume full, sovereign power on June 30.
Elections will follow next January and a popularly elected government will take
over from that Interim Government.
This is a legitimate democratic process and the coming elections are an
indispensable part of a responsable government. But truly responsive governments
look past the ballot box for ways to serve their people. Responsive governments
consider past wrongs by the state and search for ways to correct or mitigate
A responsive Iraqi government must consider and react, in tangible fashion, to
the wrongs done to the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein, his family and the
criminals in the Baath Party.
Hundreds of thousands were deliberately murdered by Saddam as he attempted to
suppress all dissenting voices. The Iraqi landscape is littered and scarred with
the mass graves of those killed by Saddam. The survivors in Halabja are living
reminders that he used chemical weapons against his own people.
Tens of thousands were tortured and raped as a matter of state policy. Vast
numbers of Iraqis lost their jobs as punishment by a hateful regime.
And while future Iraqi governments will not be morally responsible for Saddam’s
cruelties to his own people, simple justice, a decent respect for the suffering
of the Iraqi people requires that these governments consider how to compensate
the Iraqi victims of state oppression.
To further that process, I have created The Special Task Force for Compensation
of Victims of the Previous Regime. For an initial endowment I have set aside $25
million from the Development Fund for Iraq. This certainly will not be a
sufficient sum to compensate all of Saddam’s victims, but it is a beginning.
To head the Task Force I have appointed the head of the Iraqi Bar Association,
Dr. Malek Dohan al-Hassan. Dr. Malek will appoint his two assistants. Dr. Malek
is a highly respected attorney who will bring long experience to this difficult
I have asked Dr. Malek to present to the Interim Iraqi Government a plan to
compensate Saddam’s Iraqi victims in part for what they have suffered. I say “in
part” because no compensation can ever be truly adequate for the fatherless
child, the widow, or the permanently disabled. Dr. Malek is to present his plan
to the Interim Iraqi Government by August 1, 2004.
While Dr. Malek is free to organize his work in the manner he thinks best suited
to meet the needs of the new government, I have suggested to him that his report
cover four areas:
• First, his task force must define the categories of victims. Which groups of
people will be included, for instance, those who were imprisoned, tortured,
fired from their jobs and the survivors of those killed.
• Secondly, with categories of victims established, it will be necessary to
devise a means for estimating the number of Iraqis in each category of victims.
• Third, Dr. Malek will also need to make some estimate of what constitutes fair
compensation for each category of victims.
• Lastly, he will need to recommend a system by which people can come forward to
claim compensation as well as a system for their claims to be adjudicated.
Dr. Malek, you have a great and important task before you. It will require not
only keen analysis, but a keen sense of justice. I know you have the qualities
that are needed to carry out this duty.
I salute you for undertaking this difficult but necessary task. I know you have
done this because you understand that the healing of the Iraqi people must begin
somewhere. And where better to begin than by compensating the victims of Iraqi
Thank you again for taking on this solemn job.