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International Court of Justice rules that Qatar can challenge airspace restrictions at the International Civil Aviation Organization

14  July 2020

The State of Qatar welcomes today’s ruling by the International Court of Justice (the “ICJ”) that it has the right to challenge airspace restrictions imposed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Arab Republic of Egypt (“the Blockading States”) before the UN’s aviation body – the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Since June 2017, the Blockading States have prohibited Qatar-registered aircraft from flying to or from their airports and overflying their national airspaces, in flagrant violation of international law. In two judgements released today, the ICJ rejected all three grounds of appeal raised by the Blockading States, finding that the ICAO has jurisdiction to hear Qatar’s claims. The ICAO Council will now resume its proceedings.

HE the Minister of Transport and Communications of the State of Qatar, Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti: “We welcome today’s decision by the ICJ that will see the Blockading States finally face justice for violating international aviation rules. We are confident that the ICAO will ultimately find these actions unlawful. This is the latest in a series of rulings that expose the Blockading Countries’ continued disregard for international law and due process. Step by step their arguments are being dismantled, and Qatar’s position vindicated.”

Since the start of the illegal blockade in June 2017, Qatar has maintained that the Blockading States have acted illegally and in violation of international law. Today’s verdict is the latest in a series of international judgements vindicating this position and finding in favour of the State of Qatar. It follows a ruling by the World Trade Organization in June that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia breached global trade rules by failing to take action against, and instead actively promoting, broadcast pirate beoutQ.

Qatar’s decision to bring claims before the ICAO follows repeated attempts to negotiate an amicable settlement, which have been consistently rejected by the Blockading States.

Embassy of Qatar in South Africa




February/March 2020








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