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ICJ denies UAE’s request to coerce Qatar

Qatar stands victorious in a key development of its case against the UAE at the ICJ. The case that is based on the expulsion of Qatari nationals from the UAE was taken to the World Court. Qatar had accused UAE of violating its obligations under the Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

UAE

News Desk | 

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Friday, in its latest proceedings on Qatar v. United Arab Emirates, has blocked the request made by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 22, 2019.

The UAE argued that Qatar has aggravated the dispute which the court had explicitly ordered against before its final hearing was proceeded with and hence, Qatar was causing hindrance in the due process of law.

Qatar in return had argued that the access to the website had been blocked as UAE had coded a malware in the website that directly threatened the national security of Qatar.

The request made by the UAE was rejected by the court by a 15 to one margin. The ICJ argued that the UAE’s request did not fall under the said convention which is the main source of International Law in this particular case.

Qatar had filed proceedings against the UAE for violation of the Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination- to which both countries are party to- on June 11, 2018.

Therefore, while presenting ‘Prima facie jurisdiction’ as the reasoning of the court’s decision to reject UAE’s request, it argued that “it has jurisdiction as regards the merits of the case” alone.

Link to the press release of the court’s rejection decision.

Facts of the Case

On June 15, 2018 Qatar had filed a case against the UAE at the ICJ for violating the rights of the Qatari citizens by detaining and expelling them from UAE.

Some of the Qatari’s linked to UAE through family ties, education or property, were forced to leave the country after a brutal economic and political blockade imposed over Qatar by the Emirati-Saudi-dominated bloc due Qatar’s alleged support to terrorism; an accusation denied by Qatar.

Read more: Deep rooted mistrust in the Gulf: Qatar’s blockade continues

Qatar argued that the three-legged (land, sea and airspace) blockade on Qatar subsequently violated the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a treaty to which both the UAE and Qatar are a party to.

According to CERD, discrimination on the basis of nationality is also prohibited for states party to the convention and therefore, Qatar accused the UAE of discriminating against the Qatari citizens living in the UAE, based on their nationality and for subsequently violating the obligations of CERD.

Proceedings of the Court

Qatar had filed proceedings against the UAE for violation of the Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination- to which both countries are party to- on June 11, 2018. In addition to its procedural application against the UAE, it had also submitted a Request for immediate provincial measures for the expelled Qatari citizens before the final proceedings on racial discrimination were conducted.

Qatar is also the first Arab state to win the bid to host the World Cup 2022 for which it is at present expanding its public transportation, football stadiums and hospitality industry.

The first proceeding of the ICJ on the case was held on July 23, 2018 in which the court had ordered the UAE to immediately allow the Qatari citizens with familial ties to reunite with their families, Qatari national students to go back and continue their studies.

The court’s order was essentially a provincial measure for the UAE to follow before the final proceedings of the case. Furthermore, the court ordered both parties to avoid any action “which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve”.

On March 22, 2019, the UAE submitted a request to the ICJ for violating court’s order by blocking access to the website that allowed the expelled Qatari’s obtain their permits to go back to the UAE, and hence accused Qatar of aggravating the dispute.

Read more: The Myth of a “unified Gulf”; Qatar strikes back

Qatar had in return argued that the UAE had coded a malware in the particular website that could potentially damage the security arrangement of the Gulf state. In the latest proceeding held on June 14, 2019, the court has rejected UAE’s request, citing lack of jurisdiction on UAE’s request.

Another Diplomatic Win for Qatar

The latest development in the case against the UAE indicates a lauding diplomatic win for Qatar as it continues to be forced under the Emirati-Saudi-dominated blockade since 2017.

The ban imposed on June 5 2017 by its Gulf neighbors including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had significantly damaged Qatar’s economic and political development. Of what was described as “the stabbing of the Qatari people in a premeditated crime of piracy, fabrication, and lies in which the appellant justified its unjust blockade against a country and its people” by the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, had resulted in separation of families, diplomatic boycott and economic difficulties for the tiny state of the Gulf.

Qatar Moves Years Ahead Despite being Blockaded

June 5, 2019, Qatar’s second year anniversary of being blockaded is said to have grown stronger with its utmost will and resilience. At present Qatar is moving ahead with its independent Liquefied Natural Gas production and trade projects. According to the latest IMF report Qatar’s “Economic performance improved in 2018. Qatar’s economy has successfully absorbed the shocks from the 2014-16 drop in hydrocarbon prices and the 2017 diplomatic rift.”

The IMF also noted that Qatar’s GDP growth has gone from 1.6 percent in 2017 to 2.2 percent at present. Furthermore, Qatar under its National Vision 2030 aims higher to diversify its economy through tourism, transportation development, foreign investments and strengthening ties outside of the Gulf region.

Read more: Qatar blockade just strategy to maintain hegemony over Middle East?

Qatar is also the first Arab state to win the bid to host the World Cup 2022 for which it is at present expanding its public transportation, football stadiums and hospitality industry. It is reported that Qatar is spending an estimated six billion dollars on construction alone.

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