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Progress report of the Board of the United Nations Register of Damage Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
The Board of the United Nations Register of Damage (the Register of Damage) Caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory renders this progress report in accordance with paragraph 6 (h) of General Assembly resolution ES-10/17 covering the period from 10 April 2009 to 18 June 2010. The Board’s previous report was contained in document A/ES-10/455 of 4 May 2009.
Guided by provisions of General Assembly resolution ES-10/17, relevant findings of the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 and general principles of international law and due process of law, the Board adopted revised Rules and Regulations Governing the Registration of Claims in June 2009, including eligibility criteria (summarized below). In addition, in May 2009 the Office of the Register of Damage established its website (www.unrod.org ), with links to its basic documents, including the revised Rules and Regulations.
Since the Board’s last report, the work of collecting, processing and reviewing claim forms for registration of damage and considering them for inclusion in the Register was continued.
It is expected that, within the next month, claim intake will be completed in two out of nine governorates affected by the construction of the Wall — Jenin and Tubas — covering 36 communities. A team of claim intakers working in the West Bank has, as of 18 June 2010, collected 6,770 claim forms and over 50,000 supporting documents, which have been delivered to the Office of the Register of Damage in Vienna. The claim intake is currently proceeding in the Tulkarm and Qalqiliya governorates, as well as in some communities around East Jerusalem.
The Board has, as of 18 June 2010, reviewed 1,554 claim forms, which had been translated from Arabic into English, processed through the Register’s electronic database and reviewed by the staff of the Office. The Board has decided to include most or all of the losses in 1,551 claim forms in the Register, not to include 2 claim forms, in accordance with the eligibility criteria, and to defer action on 1 claim form.
During the reporting period, the Board held five meetings in Vienna to review 1,284 claim forms that had been translated, processed and reviewed by the Office staff. The Board met from 15 to 19 June 2009, from 28 September to 1 October 2009, from 14 to 17 December 2009, from 15 to 19 March 2010 and from 14 to 18 June 2010. At the five meetings, respectively, the Board reviewed and decided to include in the Register most or all of the losses set out in 135 claim forms (except for one claim form where none of the losses met the eligibility criteria), 261 claim forms (except for one claim form on which it decided to defer action), 112 claim forms, 287 claim forms and 489 claim forms.
In accordance with article 11 of the Rules and Regulations, claims are eligible for inclusion in the Register if: (a) the claimant is a natural or legal person; (b) the claimant has substantially met the technical requirements for submitting a claim; (c) the claim is within the jurisdiction of the Register of Damage; (d) the claimant has established a legal interest in the claimed damage; (e) the claimed damage is material; (f) the claimant has established a causal link between the claimed damage and the construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; (g) the claimed damage was in fact sustained; (h) the documents and assertions in support of the claim are substantially consistent; and (i) the claim has been established prima facie, based on the information and documents submitted by the claimant, giving the claimant the benefit of the doubt in appropriate cases and bearing in mind the varying circumstances with regard to title and residency status of claimants.
In view of the number of claims presented to the Board at each of its meetings, in accordance with article 12 of its Rules and Regulations the Board employed sampling in conducting its review. The Board’s decisions with respect to inclusion of claims were based on information provided by claimants and others. In accordance with its mandate, the Board decided to include in the Register only losses or damage cause by the construction of the Wall within the Occupied Palestinian Territory and only to the extent of loss or damage sustained within that Territory. In addition, where it appeared that the asserted quantities for some or all of the losses in the claim might exceed the claimant’s apparent interest or share, the Board decided that the claims should be included in the Register only to the extent of each claimant’s interest or share. Further, where the claimant indicated that movable property, such as livestock, had to be sold as a result of the construction of the Wall, the loss of such property has been included in the Register and no determination has been made as to the price received or any corresponding offset, since this would be beyond the mandate of the Register of Damage. Similarly, some claims included in the Register list both the loss of an asset and the loss of income from that asset without regard as to whether future lost income might be considered as part of the value of the asset.
Despite the exceptionally diligent and dedicated work of the secretariat, there is a considerable gap between the number of claim forms collected and processed by the Vienna Office of the Register of Damage. This gap may grow unless the staffing of the Vienna Office is increased.
The activities of the claim intake team have been funded by generous contributions from Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Philippines, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development. The Board would like to express its appreciation to them for funding resources and enabling the implementation of the provisions of General Assembly resolution ES-10/17.
The Board appreciates the cooperation with the Palestinian authorities and the Palestinian National Committee for the Register of Damage, as well as the support provided on many practical aspects by local mayors and members of village councils where outreach and claim intake activities have been undertaken. In April 2010, the Executive Director of the Office of the Register, Mr. Vladimir Goryayev, visited the Occupied Palestinian Territory and held in-depth consultations about Register activities with officials of the Palestinian Authority, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who expressed his appreciation for the results achieved so far and his full support and cooperation with the implementation of the mandate of the Register in the months to come. The Chairman of the Palestinian National Committee for the Register of Damage and some of its members also visited the Office of the Register to discuss practical issues related to all aspects of the activities carried out by the Office.
The Government of Israel maintains its well known position of not cooperating with the Office of the Register and considering that any claims in relation to damage caused by the construction of the wall should be addressed through the existing Israeli mechanism. At the same time, on a practical level, the Office of the Register has not experienced any difficulties in carrying out its activities as outlined in General Assembly resolution ES-10/17.
The Board of the Register of Damage will continue to render periodic reports in accordance with article 17 of its Rules and Regulations.