Monday, May 21, 2012

Law to be drafted to deal with Jewish assets in Iraq

With thanks: Janet, Maurice and Niran

A slide show of Baghdad throughout the 20th century, put together by Tony and Mira Rocca. The memoirs of Mira's mother, Violette Shamash, were published as Memories of Eden (With thanks Lisette).

Might Iraqi Jews be able to recover their property?

An anonymous source in the Property/ Real Estate Claims Commission
has told the Addustour newspaper (rough English translation here) that Iraqi Jews who emigrated in the middle of the last century to Israel have filed complains requesting compensation. It has been decided that a legal committee will be formed to draft a law to resolve this question.

Property Claims Law No. 13 of 2010 defined the tasks of the commission to look at cases brought by Iraqis whose property/ies have been confiscated and sold to citizens or given to government or party "Ba'ath" agencies. Properties belonging to Jews or citizens from the Gulf or foreigners are not included in this law.

After receiving complains from Iraqi Jews who immigrated to Europe, America, Israel and other countries, the authorities concerned have decided to form a committee of various disciplines, such as the real estate Justice Department affiliate and the Judicial Council, Internal affairs and the Foreign office, to start preparing legislation that guarantees an end to the problems of this segment in relation to their properties. The former regime did not confiscate or sell them, but froze them in the land registry. The Commission would not issue a law, as this is not its remit, but the duty of Parliament.

A spokesman for the World Organisation of Jews from Iraq fears that the Jews are just one of many groups demanding restitution, and that the focus will be on foreign owners and those from the Gulf States.

Following the US invasion of Iraq, the Iraq Property Claims Commission was set up. Anyone who had lost property since 1968, when the Ba'ath regime seized power, was entitled to file a claim and send the information to an address in Switzerland. But the website of the IPCC and its address no longer exist, and not a single Jewish claimant has received any news. No provision was ever made for the compensation or restitution of the bulk of Jewish property, frozen in the early 1950s.

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