Following a sit-in by supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the highest judicial authority in Iraq halted its operations on Tuesday.
The Supreme Judicial Council announced in a statement that it had decided to suspend all judicial activity after al-supporters al-Sadr’s staged a sit-in outside its Baghdad offices to demand the dissolution of Parliament.
The statement accused followers of al-Sadr of exerting pressure on the Federal Supreme Court to dissolve Parliament, claiming that the court suspended all judicial proceedings in protest “Acts that violate the constitution and the law.”
The council held the administration and the political party supporting the demonstration fully accountable for the repercussions of the protest.
According to a statement provided by his office, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi cut short his current visit to Egypt to attend a five-way Arab conference and returned to Baghdad.
According to the statement, Al-Kadhimi cautioned that “disrupting the operation of the judicial institution places the nation in grave peril.” He emphasized that “the right to demonstrate is guaranteed by the Constitution, with the requirement to respect state institutions so that they may continue to serve the people.” Iraq has been in a political stalemate for the past nine months, as rival parties have been unable to form a new government after the October elections.
The Federal Supreme Council of Iraq was slated to discuss a lawsuit seeking the dissolution of Parliament on Tuesday, but the session has been postponed until August 30. The Supreme Judicial Council stated on August 14 that it lacks the jurisdiction to dissolve the Parliament.