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U.S. Supreme Court to determine future of Iraq’s oil funds


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The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that could decide how the “new” Iraq’s oil revenue could be held liable in the U.S. for the actions committed by Saddam Hussein.


The high court will review a decision by a federal appeals court which gave Americans allegedly held or otherwise harmed by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s the right to sue him in U.S. courts, Greg Stohr reports for Bloomberg News.


In 2003, President Bush and the U.N. Security Council issued orders giving immunity to Iraq’s revenue – nearly all of it oil proceeds – as well as leftover funds from the Oil for Food program and Saddam’s seized assets. The immunity is intended to keep creditors of the former regime from taking Iraq’s revenue as the country attempts to rebuild.


The funds are collected in an account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and monitored by an international oversight board, a move to ensure the funds aren’t misused and to ensure transparency.


Iraq’s Ambassador to the U.S., Samir Sumaidaie, issued this statement following the Supreme Court decision:


The Republic of Iraq is gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Iraq’s sovereign immunity has been restored in cases involving the actions of the former Saddam Hussein regime.


Iraq is grateful for the continuing support it has received from the U.S. Government on this important legal question.


The Saddam Hussein regime inflicted enormous damage on the people of Iraq, and they should not be subjected to further harm in foreign courts as Iraq continues to rebuild itself as friend of the United States under a new democratic government.


Resolution of the sort of claims brought in the lawsuits now before the Supreme Court, or other similar claims that might be brought against the U.S. in Iraqi courts, should be addressed through diplomatic channels and means, rather than by one nation unilaterally subjecting another sovereign nation to punitive lawsuits in its courts.


As an important friend of the United States, Iraq seeks to have its legal sovereignty restored to the same status as that of other allied nations.

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