Shafaq News / The Ministry of Justice issued a clarification today regarding the ongoing discussions within political, legal, and media circles concerning the arbitration case between the Ministry of Transport and the Iraqi Airways and the Egyptian company "Horus".
The ministry provided a comprehensive explanation of the facts and details of the case, stating that "Iraqi Airways previously signed a general agency contract for civil aviation flight services for three years with the Egyptian company Horus on January 30, 2001, during the reign of the former regime," referring to Saddam Hussein's regime.
The statement added that based on Egyptian company registration documents, it was proven that the company did not exist at the time of signing the contract, but rather, it was established and granted a license to operate after the contract's signing.
Due to the company's failure to fulfill the contract's terms, Iraqi Airways notified the Egyptian company of the termination of the agency agreement starting from February 1, 2005, as per the signed contract. In response to the termination, "Horus" requested arbitration on August 4, 2011, according to Article 16 of the contract. Due to a lack of consensus on appointing an arbitrator, the company resorted to the Egyptian judiciary, and the Egyptian court, competent to compel Iraq to arbitration based on the contract's terms, also appointed a chairman of the arbitration panel.
The statement also noted that the Iraqi government, represented by the Ministries of Transport, Foreign Affairs, and Justice, as well as the legal consulting office responsible for monitoring the government's foreign lawsuits, has been following the case since its inception. An arbitrator was appointed on Iraq's behalf, and an attorney for the government was authorized to litigate in Egypt before the arbitration panel.
The statement went on to mention that in 2013 and 2014, the Iraqi government authorized two Egyptian lawyers, in addition to the primary attorney, to form the defense team for Iraq. The lawyers presented their legal arguments, supported by evidence and documents, demonstrating the contract's invalidity, the legitimacy of its termination, and the company's lack of entitlement to compensation.
On October 25, 2015, "Horus" was placed under conservatorship by an Egyptian judicial decision, considering it as one of the prohibited "Brotherhood" companies in Egypt, and it was placed under the supervision and management of the Egypt Tourism Company, according to the statement.
The statement further noted that during the period of Egypt Tourism Company's oversight of "Horus," followed by the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority, the arbitrator for the company being under conservatorship was changed six times in 2016.
Although the arbitrator from the Iraqi side initially requested to withdraw from the case in the same year, he later withdrew his request in response to the Iraqi government's request. However, the Chairman of the Arbitration Panel submitted a resignation request in 2017 due to the unavailability of suitable legal conditions for the arbitrators and the pressures exerted on them.
It is noteworthy that in the same year, the Iraqi government appointed a fourth lawyer to strengthen the defense position in the case.
The statement clarified that the Chairman of the Arbitration Panel's resignation request was referred to the relevant Egyptian courts for consideration, along with the other withdrawal request from the Iraqi side. The court continued to examine the withdrawal requests for nearly five years and issued its decision on March 22, 2022, rejecting the withdrawal requests and obligating the arbitration panel to complete its mission.
The statement further emphasized that the Iraqi government has exerted exceptional efforts in the case, both through legal and judicial means and diplomatic channels. However, the significant pressures exerted on the arbitrators led to the issuance of an unfair decision against the Iraqi government.
In an effort to unify technical, diplomatic, legal, and governmental efforts, the Prime Minister directed the formation of a joint team from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transport, and Justice, supervised by his office, to file a lawsuit to annul the arbitration decision.
The Ministry of Justice has completed its procedures by filing a lawsuit to annul the arbitration decision against Iraq before the Egyptian judiciary, relying on the provisions of Article 53 of the Egyptian Arbitration Law. Iraq will be represented by a team of Iraqi lawyers, and an international law firm has been retained to support the legal proceedings.
According to the statement, the joint team formed under the Prime Minister's directives will continue to pursue the annulment of the arbitration decision before the Egyptian courts, utilizing all diplomatic, legal, judicial, and technical means to rectify the injustice that has been inflicted on Iraq due to the arbitration panel's decision.
In conclusion, the Ministry of Justice called upon the media, legal professionals, politicians, and all concerned parties to exercise accuracy in conveying information and to approach the matter responsibly, as it requires the collective efforts of all relevant entities to protect Iraq's rights. The public will be kept informed of all developments in the case.