ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Federal Supreme Court of Iraq on Monday announced they are beginning deliberations on a possible lawsuit to challenge the Kurdistan Region’s independent oil exports abroad, initiated by the Kurdish government of the semi-autonomous region in 2014.
In its statement, the court mentioned it had decided to “include the Iraqi Prime Minister [Haider al-Abadi], Iraqi Finance Minister [Salman Jumaili], Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region [Nechirvan Barzani], in addition to their functions, as third persons in the lawsuit due to constitutional, political, and financial aspects.”
The statement adds that the Supreme Court held a session on Monday, chaired by Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud. The lawsuit, initiated by the Iraqi Oil Minister, Jabbar al-Luaibi, against the Kurdistan Region’s Natural Resources Minister, Ashti Hawrami, was reviewed.
The court added that parties mentioned in the lawsuit had also participated in a hearing, where the Iraqi Oil Ministry asked for the export of oil by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to cease, and for amounts sold in the past to be repaid to the Iraqi federal government.
“To provide sufficient time for all parties to present their case, we have deferred the appeal to 6/5/2018,” the court explained.
The KRG began to independently export its oil to international markets through Turkey’s Ceyhan port in 2014 after the Federal Government of Iraq cut the national budget share of the Kurdistan Region at the start of the same year.
The export of oil sparked tensions between Erbil and Baghdad. Oil revenue distribution has been one of the most pressing issues between the two governments.
The Kurdish semi-autonomous region currently exports 328,000 barrels per day of oil to Turkey, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources’ report, released earlier this month.
Editing by Nadia Riva