ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Warrants were issued by an Iraqi court on Wednesday for the arrest of the head and members of the Kurdistan Region’s Independent High Electoral and Referendum Commission (IHERC).
The dozen-or-so members of the Commission have been accused of acting against the ruling of Iraq’s highest court by holding and overseeing the Sep. 25 referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region.
“The Rusafa Court in Baghdad has issued an arrest warrant for the head and members of the commission who supervised the referendum in the Kurdistan Region,” according to Abdulstar Bayraqdar, spokesperson for the high judicial council.
“The verdict was issued after the National Security Council filed a lawsuit arguing the referendum went against the decision of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court,” he explained.
Baghdad has, in turn, expressed its intent to follow through with the arrests.
“Those who supervised the referendum violated the ruling of the Iraqi Supreme Court,” said Saad al-Hadithi, the spokesperson for Haider al-Abadi. “The government will follow up with the arrests.”
Hadithi also noted the arrests would be carried out by security forces who were “now entrusted” with the task. “The arrests will be executed in the coming days.”
The head of the Kurdistan Region’s electoral body, in a statement to Kurdistan 24 responding to the latest measures taken by Baghdad in retaliation to the Kurdistan Region’s referendum, noted the issuance of arrest warrants reminded him of the former regime’s behavior.
“It is a political decision,” said Handren Mohammed Salih. “It is similar to decisions Iraq’s previous dictators would have taken.”
The Iraqi Council of Ministers met with the Iraqi National Security Council and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday, after which he announced new sanctions would be taken against Erbil, in addition to the flight ban and border closure threats.
The statement at the time mentioned that Baghdad had launched a lawsuit to prosecute state employees in the Kurdistan Region who voted in the Sep. 25 referendum.