Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council under Article II, Section 2, of the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement (Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates v. Qatar)
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Overview of the case
On 4 July 2018, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates filed in the Registry of the Court a joint Application constituting an appeal from the decision rendered by the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (the “ICAO Council”) on 29 June 2018 in proceedings commenced by the State of Qatar against these four States on 30 October 2017 pursuant to Article 84 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
On the same day, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates filed in the Registry of the Court a joint Application constituting an appeal from the decision rendered by the ICAO Council on 29 June 2018 in proceedings commenced by the State of Qatar against these three States on 30 October 2017 pursuant to Article II, Section 2, of the International Air Services Transit Agreement.
The Applications stated that, in 2013 and 2014, following years of diplomatic activities, the member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council had adopted a series of instruments and undertakings, referred to collectively as the Riyadh Agreements, under which Qatar “committed to cease supporting, financing or harbouring persons or groups presenting a danger to national security, in particular terrorist groups”. The Applicants further stated that, on 5 June 2017, after Qatar had allegedly failed to abide by its commitments, they adopted a range of countermeasures “with the aim of inducing compliance by Qatar”. These measures included airspace restrictions on aircraft registered in Qatar. On 30 October 2017, Qatar submitted to the ICAO Council two Applications against the above States, which raised two preliminary objections to each of Qatar’s Applications contending that the ICAO Council lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims submitted by Qatar, or, in the alternative, that the claims were inadmissible.
By two decisions rendered on 29 June 2018, the ICAO Council rejected these preliminary objections.
Before the Court, the Applicants advanced three grounds of appeal. Under the first ground of appeal, they contested the decisions of the ICAO Council on the grounds that they had been rendered following a procedure which was “manifestly flawed and in violation of fundamental principles of due process and the right to be heard”. Under the second and third grounds, they claimed that “the ICAO Council erred in fact and in law” in rejecting, respectively, the first and the second preliminary objections to its jurisdiction over Qatar’s Applications.
Public hearings were held in both cases in December 2019, and the Court delivered its Judgment in each case on 14 July 2020.
In both Judgments, the Court rejected the appeal brought by the Applicants on 4 July 2018 from the Decision of the ICAO Council of 29 June 2018. It held that the ICAOA Council has jurisdiction to entertain the application submitted to it by Qatar on 30 October 2017 and that the said application is admissible.
This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.