Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

UN hearing for Qatar-UAE judicial case begins in The Hague

Hearings will examine objections raised by UAE against Qatari case

A view of the Doha skyline. AP
A view of the Doha skyline. AP

Tension between Qatar and several Arab nations will come under the spotlight of a UN judicial case today.

The UN’s top court in The Hague will hold hearings over objections raised by the UAE against a Qatari case alleging discrimination.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and several other allies severed ties with Qatar in 2017 over its support for terrorism and interference in their domestic affairs.

The decision included suspension of diplomatic relations and closing borders.

A year later, Qatar dragged the UAE to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with allegations of racially discriminatory behaviour including the expulsion of Qataris.

Despite claims to the contrary, no laws or regulations have been introduced in the UAE to expel Qatari citizens since diplomatic and transport ties were cut on June 5, 2017.

Official figures provided to the court had shown that as of mid-June 2018 there were 2,194 Qataris in the UAE, "a number that is not substantially different than the number as at June 5, 2017”.

The ICJ called for the protection of the rights of Qatari citizens, pending the start of the full hearings in the case, which will start today and last one week.

The ICJ said the hearings would be “devoted to the preliminary objections raised by the United Arab Emirates” against Qatar's case.

The UAE will put its case first today and Qatar will respond on Wednesday.

The hearings are taking place by video link because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The UAE denies all of Qatar's claims and said these fuelled tension, harming efforts to resolve the dispute.

The Emirates filed its own case last year seeking emergency measures to stop Qatar aggravating the dispute. The court denied the application.

The ICJ was set up in 1946 after the Second World War to rule on disputes between member states of the UN.

The court's judgments are binding but it has no means of enforcing them.

Any final ruling in the Qatar case could take years.

Updated: August 31, 2020 11:40 PM

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