Iraq's supreme court rules Kurdistan secession 'unconstitutional'

Cheryl Sanders
November 22, 2017

Iraq's Supreme Federal Court on Monday ruled that a September referendum on the secession of northern Iraq's Kurdish region was "unconstitutional", APA reported citing Anadolu Agency.

Earlier, the Iraqi Supreme Federal Court issued a verdict ruling that "the September 25 referendum, in the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas outside the region, was unconstitutional", Ayas al-Samouk, head of the court's media office, said in a brief statement.

Kurds voted overwhelmingly to break away from Iraq in the referendum, defying the central government in Baghdad and alarming neighbouring Turkey and Iran who have their own Kurdish minorities. Although the results were non-binding the election prompted the Iraqi government to send troops to Kurdistan to take control of disputed territory.

In a statement, the ministry said: "This decision has confirmed the illegitimacy of the referendum, which has been stressed all along by the majority of the worldwide community, including Turkey".

It also said it respected a previous decision insisting on Iraqi unity, which could be a basis for dialogue.

The federal court is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq's central government and the country's regions and provinces. The verdict is not subject to appeal. Parliament in Baghdad is now reviewing the federal budget for the coming year, including the allocation for the Kurdish region.

A statement from Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said: "We call upon everybody to ... avoid taking any step which violates the constitution and law". September's referendum was initiated by Barzani, for whom the repercussions were severe.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish regional government's minister of foreign relations, Falah Mustafa, said that "the Kurdistan region is paying the price for stability". Iraqi government forces and the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces launched a surprise offensive on October 16 in retaliation.

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