Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed: Filing a joint appeal at ICJ by the four countries indicates a common resolve to get international laws rightly applied
Today the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (the Four States) jointly filed appeals with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in respect of the decisions of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued on 29 June 2018, following claims lodged by the State of Qatar with ICAO.
The first appeal is jointly filed by all Four States against the decision of the ICAO under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. The second appeal is jointly filed by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates under the International Air Services Transit Agreement, to which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not party. The appeals are on identical grounds.
The decisions of the ICAO Council did not concern the substance of Qatar’s claims before ICAO and only address the question of whether the ICAO Council has competence to hear these claims. The Four States maintain that the ICAO Council does not have such competence, since their dispute with Qatar concerns issues that are entirely unrelated to civil aviation or aviation safety. The dispute concerns fundamental commitments freely assumed by the Qatari government, in particular commitments to cease supporting terrorist entities and individuals, to stop interfering in the affairs of its neighbors, and to no longer use its government-controlled media networks to propagate hate speech.
Accordingly, the Four States disagree with the decisions of the ICAO Council, which are, moreover, procedurally irregular, and have asked the ICJ to set them aside. The final decision on these matters will be made by the ICJ. Pending the ICJ’s decision, the ICAO proceedings are suspended.
The Four States have appointed agents to represent them before the ICJ. The four agents are: H.E. Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa for the Kingdom of Bahrain, H.E. Amgad Abdel Ghaffar for the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Abohaimed for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and H.E. Saeed Ali Yousef Alnowais for the United Arab Emirates.
The Four States reiterate their respect for ICAO and the ICAO Council, and their continuing commitment to ensuring the safety of air navigation within the framework of ICAO.