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Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Iraq’s Federal Court ruled it has no jurisdiction over Kurdish MPs who voted in independence referendum

nsnbc : The top federal court of Iraq ruled on Wednesday that it is not in its jurisdiction to pronounce an opinion on parliamentarians who participated in the independence referendum in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region on September 25.

Entrance to Iraq's Federal Parliament in Baghdad.

Entrance to Iraq’s Federal Parliament in Baghdad.

The Court published a statement effectively turning down a motion by the Iraqi government which asked for the court’s advice on parliamentarians who backed and were engaged in the September 25th vote where some 92% of voters in the autonomous region backed separation from Iraq.

A committee of Iraq’s federal government in Baghdad had provided the names of 10 Kurdish MPs who voted in the referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region on September 25.

A temporary committee comprised of the legal and MP’s affairs committees named 10 Kurdish MPs who participated in the independence referendum. The Shiite dominated federal parliament had tasked the committee with providing the list with the list.

Kurdish MPs who are among those who may be expelled include: Arez Abdullah, head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) faction, Arafat Karam, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) faction, Muthana Amin, head of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) faction, Shakawan Abdullah, deputy head of KDP faction, Najiba Najib, Ashwaq Jaff, Adil Nuri, Abdulaziz Hassan, and Vian Dakhil.

Last week Muthana Amin said it was “a big honor” for him to be punished for Kurdistan. “They have been shocked and want to take revenge in this way and fight to break our will,” Amin said. He denounced the move as “illegal” and warned that it would lead to additional tensions in the already highly unstable federal parliament in Baghdad. He also stressed that he believes the federal parliament does not have to act in this way and that he has urged Kurdish MPs from all factions to boycott parliamentary sessions protesting the decree.

Asked why no MPs from the Change Movement (Goran) or Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) were listed for removal from the parliament, he said Baghdad was trying to create a rift among Kurds. “With this position, Baghdad wants to divide us and create rifts among us, purporting to show that the punishments do not go against all Kurds, but for a segment,” he said, describing it as Baghdad’s “sly politics.”

Earlier this month the Iraqi federal parliament asked the Federal Court in a letter to take legal measures against Kurdish MPs who voted for independence from Iraq in the referendum. The issue was raised by Salim al-Jabouri, speaker of the parliament, together with the Shiite National Alliance, the largest faction in the federal parliament. The letter called for stripping immunity from those Kurdish MPs involved in vote and going so far as putting them on trial.

The Iraqi federal parliament has issued a set of punitive measures against the Kurdistan Autonomous Region in response to the referendum, including a flight ban. Baghdad, as well as neighboring Turkey and Iran have also threatened with additional measures, including possible military actions against the Kurdistan Autonomous Region.

The court had previously ruled that the referendum was unconstitutional, and asked to cancel its result. The Iraqi government said recently it was proceeding with legal measures against government servants who promoted the referendum, saying it had prepared a list of names of those persons. Kurdish members of the Iraqi parliament suspended their attendance after the chamber voted in September to reject the poll.

Baghdad has repeatedly challenged the constitutionality of the poll, and has take a set of penal measures against the region, including closures of borders, bans on international flights and halts to financial dealings. Erbil, meanwhile, insists it remains ready for dialogue with Baghdad but without the precondition of reversing the referendum’s outcome.

F/AK – nsnbc 11.10.2017

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