In a judicial decision that reeks of politics and internal local calculations, the Federal Supreme Court of Iraq ruled, yesterday, “the unconstitutionality of the law ratifying the agreement” between Iraq and Kuwait regarding the regulation of maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah, and issued a completely different ruling in the same case, in Year 2014.

Informed sources told Al-Rai that the Supreme Court would reconsider a case on which it had previously decided in a completely different way, especially since its rulings and decisions are considered final and binding on the executive and legislative authorities in Iraq.

The sources suggested that there were internal reasons behind the judicial decision, which constitutes a setback for relations between Kuwait and Iraq, noting that many attempts had been made previously by political forces to overthrow the agreement signed between the two countries in 2013, but they did not succeed.

The sources pointed out that Iraq is on the cusp of local elections for the governorate councils scheduled for next December, which will be a major gateway to the parliamentary elections, suggesting that the judiciary’s decision came as a result of political pressure from some parties that are trying to make electoral gains by raising problems with Kuwait, despite the fact that there is no legal basis, just as happened in the uproar that accompanied the recent visit of Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah to Iraq early last August, and what was reported about the city of Umm Qasr, and the Iraqi government was forced at that time to come up with clarifications to calm the Iraqi street.

It is noteworthy that the Federal Supreme Court did not decide that the agreement was unconstitutional due to the Iraqi government giving up parts of its rights to Kuwait, or for matters related to sovereignty, as was reported, but rather on the pretext of “violating the provisions of Article (61/Fourth) of the Constitution of the Republic of Iraq, which stipulated that (the process of ratifying international treaties and agreements by law enacted by a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Representatives.”

Surprisingly, the same court had ruled in December 2014 on the constitutionality of the agreement, and on the validity of its ratification in the House of Representatives by a simple majority, without the need for two-thirds, and this means that the legal adaptation is now different from what it was previously, even though the agreement is the same.

The sources explained that the court considered in its previous decision that the agreement is an agreement to regulate maritime navigation, and this is true and is explicitly stated in Article 1 and was not originally denied by successive Iraqi governments, while the court considered in its current decision that the agreement is to demarcate borders and therefore it is an international agreement and requires approval of two-thirds in Parliament.

The court had published, on its official website in 2014, through the judiciary spokesman, Judge Abdul-Sattar Bayraktar, what it said was that it “rejected the appeal against the law ratifying the agreement regulating river navigation between Iraq and Kuwait, and confirmed that the vote on it within the House of Representatives was in accordance with the constitutional conditions.”

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