UNMOVIC (United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission)

UNMOVIC is a body created in December 1999 by UN Security Council Resolution 1284 to replace UNSCOM in order to resume inspections of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programme. The Security Council agreed unanimously on 20 January 2000 to appoint Mr. Hans Blix, who had been i.a. Swedish Foreign Minister and director of the International Energy Agency (IAEA) for sixteen years, as Head of this new body.

At first, the Iraqi authorities reacted in an ambivalent way to the appointment of Mr. Blix. Negotiations for the resumption of arms inspections in Iraq lasted for nearly four years. Arms inspections only resumed on the 27th of November 2002, following the approval of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

In February 2002, the UNMOVIC presented its first report to the UN Security Council after the resumption of inspections in November 2002 (1). In this report, the UNMOVIC stated that « no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq had been found » (2). In his last intervention in front of the Security Council, the Chief of Inspectors confirmed that the Iraqi authorities had increased and accelerated their cooperation and hence, requested more time for the inspectors to verify Iraq’s compliance. However, as a consequence of the US attitude, the inspectors withdrew from Iraq on the 17 March 2003, just before the US-led invasion of Iraq was launched.

In the aftermath of the Third Gulf War, the US-led coalition organized units to engage in the task previously pursued by UNMOVIC. 1500 experts have been deployed for that purpose, but they have found no trace of any of weapons of mass destruction or any remaining program for the production of such armaments. Apparently, at time being, there is no immediate role for UN inspectors.

On the 1st of July 2003, after Mr Hans Blix retired, Mr. Demetrius Perricos (Greece) was appointed Acting Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC.

Notes:

(1) According to the Security Council resolution 1284, the UNMOVIC reports quarterly to the Security Council. Eleventh quarterly report, S/2002/1303 of 27 November 2002; Twelfth Quarterly Report, UN document S/2003/232 (2003) of 28 February 2003; Thirteenth Quarterly Report, UN document S/2003/580 (2003) of 30 May 2003.

(2) In February 2003, the UNMOVIC found 70 Al Samoud 2 missiles, with a range limit exceeding the limit imposed to Iraq. These missiles and associated equipment were destroyed under the UNMOVIC supervision.

For more nformation:

UNMOVIC website

See also:

UNSCOM