Counter-terrorism law in Iraqi Kurdistan set to expire in July, no parl’t to renew it

MESOP : “No milk today, it wasn’t always so”. (POP-Song USA)

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan region ‘Iraq’,— 10 April 2016 –  A counter-terrorism law is set to expire at the end of July this year and may result in a new legal crisis in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region if the Parliament is not reactivated before then, according to an MP.

Head of the Human Rights Committee in the Kurdistan Parliament, Soran Omer, released a statement to his Facebook page on Saturday, saying the Kurdistan Region Counter-Terrorism Law will end on July 26 and must be renewed. Parliamentary blocs agreed to extend the law’s mandate last year, on the condition that it would be amended within six months. The Parliament however has been inactive since October 2015 due to political infighting among Kurdish parties.The original version of the terror law was approved in 2006 and extended three times since. Security forces have also carried out numerous operations under the law’s mandate, especially since the emergence of Islamic State (IS) in northern Iraq in 2014.

Despite keeping the region safe however, Omer said the law has many shortcomings as a number of articles to not align with international principles and conventions on human rights.“A number of people have been abducted, punished or disappeared in the name of countering terrorism,” Omer said.According to him, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and representatives of the U.K. government have expressed concerns with violations carried out under the law.The crisis erupted after Massoud Barzani, whose term as Kurdistan President ended on August 20, 2015 but refused to step down and remains unofficially in office. According to the law in Kurdistan, Barzani cannot run for presidency anymore.

Kurdistan PM Nechirvan Barzani has removed four members of his cabinet from the Change (Gorran) Movement on October 13, 2015. Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament’s Speaker Yusuf Mohammad Sadiq was prevented from entering Erbil city on October 11, 2015. Since then Kurdistan parliament parliament has been suspended.The expelled ministers were replaced on October 28, 2015 with KDP politicians.