UN’s top court set to hear Qatar’s rights violations case against UAE
The United Nations’ highest court is to begin hearing an urgent case brought by Qatar against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which Doha accuses of “human rights violations” amid a Saudi-led boycott of the country.
The three-day hearing is to begin at The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) later on Wednesday. Qatari and Emirati lawyers are to defend their respective states on the first two days, while both will be given chances to address the tribunal on the final day.
Qatar went to the court against the UAE earlier this month, saying Abu Dhabi “implemented a series of discriminatory measures directed at Qataris based on their national origin.”
It has asked the tribunal to urgently order the UAE to “cease and desist from all conduct that could result…in any form of racial discrimination against Qatari individuals and entities.”
“The unlawful measures imposed by UAE have torn apart families,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said earlier this month.
“The UAE deprived Qatari companies and individuals of property and assets and denied fundamental access to education, medicine and justice in the UAE courts,” it added.
In launching the case, Doha is seeking recourse to the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Last year, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, slapping the country with an economic embargo and expelling its nationals. The Riyadh-led quartet accused Doha of supporting terrorism, a charge Qatar strongly denies.
The emirate has condemned “an unlawful land, sea and air siege against Qatar as part of a campaign of political and economic coercion.”
As part of the embargo, the Saudi-led bloc has closed off Qatar’s only land border, and barred its state-owned airline from using its neighbors’ airspace.
Last year, Qatar raised the boycott at a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), saying the four countries were discriminating against Doha in violation of an international agreement guaranteeing overflights.
However, a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Wednesday that the four states believed that ICAO “was not competent to consider that dispute.”
The bloc announced a plan “to submit a dispute with Qatar regarding their sovereign airspace” to the ICJ, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel reported.
“This action by the four countries to submit the case to the International Court of Justice comes in view of the decision of the ICAO council to grant Qatar the opportunity to hear its demands, which did not include the support of these demands or to call upon the four countries to take any action,” the official Saudi Press Agency said in a statement.
“The four States will object to the ICAO decision by appealing to the International Court of Justice,” the statement noted.
Electronic Saudi paper Sabq, meanwhile, said ICAO has stopped reviewing Qatar’s demands until the court announces its decision.