The Judiciary and the law in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Posted on | August 14, 2009

The structure of the Kurdistan Regional court and judicial system closely follows that of the Federal judiciary.
Decree No. 11 of August 1992 and the Judicial Authority Law No. 44 of December 1992 set out the basis for the judiciary in the region as an autonomous independent establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Courts were to sentence in the name of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and had authority over all people, including the members of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The Courts applied the laws of Iraq as they existed as at 1991 unless subsequently repealed or amended by the Kurdistan Parliament. Save for laws relating to the exclusive federal powers as listed in Article 110 of the 2005 Constitution, post 1992, new laws and amendments to existing law originating from Baghdad are not recognised as applicable in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq unless expressly endorsed by legislation of the Kurdistan Parliament. This includes the CPA orders issued in 2003 / 2004 – despite the wording of Articles 26 and 54(B) of the Transitional Administrative Law.
The Judicial Authority Law No. 44 of December 1992 also allowed for the establishment of a Cassation Court for the Kurdistan Region. There are appeal districts in Erbil and Suleimaniye.
The Kurdish Judicial Council, headed by Chief Justice Ahmed, is independent of the executive. Then Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, gave an interesting speech at the opening of the Kurdistan Judicial Council building in May 2009.
The American Bar Association published a Judicial Reform Index for the Kurdistan Region in 2006.