By John Lee.
The Judicial Council of Kurdistan Region of Iraq has issued a statement saying that the provisions of its oil law (Law No. 22, 2007) do not violate the Iraqi Constitution and therefore should be recognized as "standing laws".
The statement follows months of dispute between Baghdad and Erbil regarding control of the energy resources in Iraqi Kurdistan, with Iraq's Federal Supreme Court ruling in February that sales of oil and gas by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), independently of the central government in Baghdad, were unconstitutional.
Full statement from KRG:
"The Kurdistan Regional Government's tenure on the issue of oil and gas exploration on its territory is in accordance with the 2005 Iraqi Constitution. The provisions of Law No. 22, 2007, issued by the Kurdistan Regional Parliament, do not violate the Iraqi Constitution and therefore should be recognized as standing laws.
"The oil and gas sector do not fall under the exclusive purview of the Federal Government of Iraq as stated in Article 110 of the Iraqi Constitution, underpinned by Article 112 of the Iraqi Constitution which states the Federal Government is to manage oil and gas exploration of discovered fields, in conjunction with regional governments and oil-producing provinces. Of that, revenues are supposed to be distributed equally among the population of Iraq.
"Article 112 refers to existing oil wells and fields prior to the ratification of the Constitution in 2005. As such, oil fields discovered in the Kurdistan Region since 2005 fall under the jurisdiction of the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Accordingly, the texts of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Oil and Gas Law No. 22, 2007, remain in line with the provisions of the Iraqi Constitution.
"Article 92(2) of the Constitution of Iraq requires that the Iraqi Council of Representatives pass a law to establish an Iraqi Federal Supreme Court. No such law has to date been enacted. Iraq, therefore, does not have a constitutionally established Federal Supreme Court. As such, the court that issued the 15 February 2022 opinion purporting to invalidate the Oil and Gas Law (No.22 of 2007) lacks the constitutional authority to do so and, consequentially, the Oil and Gas Law remains in full force as per the Iraqi Constitution."