Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The UN Iraq Oil-For-Fix Program

Paul Volker has reportedly received a Security Council resolution he desired authorizing him to probe the UN's scandal plagued Iraq Oil-For-Food program. Russia had been resisting.

There will be two other members of the investigating panel in addition to Mr. Volker: former Yugoslav war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone of South Africa, and Swiss criminal law professor Mark Pieth. There is no word yet as to whether those other two members are interested in investigating aggressively - or just interested in aborting the investigation. Time may tell. The Yugoslav war crimes prosecutions have not gone well and have taken a very long time. And there is no word yet as to the extent of the panel's subpoena and other investigatory authority. Nor is there any word on whether any private "deal" or "understanding" was reached to obtain - or limit - the scope of the resolution or the panel's powers. In UN matters - almost above all others - the devil is surely in such details.

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