Six out of nine judges in the Supreme Federal Court in Iraq voted on Monday that the Iraqi constitution does not condone the secession of any region or province.
The ruling was a response to a request from the central government in Baghdad to put an end to any “wrong misinterpretation” of the constitution and assert the unity of Iraq, a court spokesman said.
The ruling also came in wake of the September 25 Iraqi Kurdistan region independence referendum that saw the majority of Kurds vote in favor of secession from Iraq. Baghdad had banned the vote and did not recognize its results.
Article 1 of the Iraqi constitution stipulates that the republic of Iraq is a united independent federal state that enjoys a republican parliamentary system.
“The constitution is the guarantor of Iraqi unity,” it said.
The Supreme Federal Court’s ruling said that the 2005 Iraqi constitution does not allow the secession of any component of the federal system of the republic of Iraq.
Article 109 of the constitution also obligates authorities of preserve their country’s unity.
The fact that three judges out of nine objected against Monday’s court ruling shows that some differences exist over the interpretation of some of the texts on secession or Iraq’s independence.
In wake of the ruling, the government of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi issued a statement calling on all sides to “commit fully” to the constitution and the rulings of the Supreme Federal Court.