Court delays Peregraf's freedom of information case until next parliament speaker chosen

30-07-2023 09:45


In a hearing, a court in Sulaimaniyah indefinitely postponed a freedom of information case filed by Peregraf. The outlets editor, Surkew Mohammed, filed the lawsuit last summer seeking data about how the office of Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament had spent public funds during Rewaz Fayaqs term.

The case had been postponed a number of times already, but a judge on July 30 decided to postpone the case until a new speaker of parliament is chosen.

It is unclear when that may happen. Iraqs Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) has not yet set a date for new regional elections for the Kurdistan Parliament.

The lawsuit is designed not only to provide valuable data to the citizens of the Kurdistan Region about how their government spends money, but also to test whether the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) abides by its commitments under freedom of information laws.

When it filed its lawsuit against the speaker, Peregraf also filed similar requests with the office of Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. Those cases were transferred to a court in Erbil and were dismissed earlier this year. Peregraf has appealed against these rulings.

As a result of these outcomes, it is clear that the legislative and executive branches of government in the Kurdistan Region are unwilling to meet the most basic standards of transparency. Moreover, the courts are not willing to enforce the law.