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Iraq top court concludes Kurdish secession attempt unconstitutional

[JURIST] Iraq's Supreme Federal Court [official website, in Arabic] ruled [decision, PDF, in Arabic] Monday that no region within the country may secede from the state.

The ruling is in response to the disputed referendum by the northern Kurdish region who overwhelmingly voted [JURIST reports] for independence, with 92 percent of the voters opting to secede from Iraq.

In a press release [text, in Arabic] the spokesperson for the Supreme Federal Court, Iyas Samok, explained that the Supreme Federal Court was tasked with interpreting the meaning of Article 1 of the Constitution [text, PDF] to determine whether any portion of the nation could succeed from the state. The court concluded there is "no provision in the Constitution that allows for the separation" of any region in the country, and it calls for the preservation of Iraq's unity.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi [official website] has urged Kurdish groups to abide [Reuters report] by the court's ruling.

The tension [JURIST op-ed] between Iraq and Kurdistan has continued for years. In October Iraq's Supreme Justice Council ordered [JURIST report] the arrest of Kurdistan Regional Government Vice President Kosrat Rasul on charges of "provocation" against Iraq's armed forces. In September the UN said [JURIST report] that civilians bear the brunt of the violence. Last August Human Rights Watch reported that Iraqi militias are recruiting children [JURIST report] from at least one civilian camp of displaced persons in the region of Kurdistan.

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