In a judgment released Tuesday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) sided with Qatar in its dispute over an air blockade imposed against it by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The ICJ held that the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has jurisdiction to entertain the application submitted to it by Qatar.
The Gulf nations severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed the blockade in June 2017, claiming Qatar backed Islamist radicals and Iran. As a result, the blockade barred Qatar registered aircraft from overflying both their territories and their territorial seas.
In response, Qatar filed a complaint with the (ICAO). Qatar claimed the Gulf nations violated their obligations under the Chicago Convention. Therefore, the ICAO should strike down the air blockade.
Answering the complaint, the Gulf nations disavowed ICAO jurisdiction over the dispute. Ultimately, the ICJ disagreed and dismissed the Gulf nations’ appeal.
Due to the ICJ ruling, Qatar now has the ability to challenge the restrictions before the ICAO.