Iraq court rules Kurdistan secession vote unconstitutional
Iraq’s Supreme Federal Court has ruled Kurdistan’s controversial secession referendum as unconstitutional, saying the results of the vote are void.
“The Federal Court issued the decision to consider the Kurdish region’s referendum unconstitutional and this ruling is final,” a court spokesman said on Monday.
The tribunal is responsible for settling disputes between Iraq’s central government and regions including Kurdistan. The verdict is final and cannot be appealed.
“The power of this ruling should now cancel all the results of the referendum,” the spokesman added.
On September 25, the Kurdistan Regional Government held the non-binding referendum on secession from Iraq in defiance of stiff opposition from the central government in Baghdad and much of the international community. Kurdish officials have claimed that over 90 percent of voters said ‘Yes’ to separation from Iraq.
Political observers have warned that KRG’s referendum scenario is in line with Israel’s policy of dividing the regional Muslim states.
After the referendum, Baghdad ordered the KRG to hand over airports in the regional Kurdish capital of Erbil, and the city of Sulaimaniya, as well as its border crossings to the central Iraqi government.
It also asked the KRG to either cancel the result of the plebiscite or face potential sanctions, international isolation, and military intervention.
A ban on international flights into and out of the Iraqi Kurdish region also took effect on September 29.
The court had already ordered on November 6 that no region or province could break away from Iraq. Iraqi government forces launched an offensive on October 16 and retook control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed territories.
The KRG said last week that it abided by the ruling, expressing hope that the decision would set the stage for dialog between Baghdad and Erbil.