The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has denied a request by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for immediate measures against Qatar in a dispute over alleged discrimination between the Gulf neighbours.
The ruling came on Friday, weeks after the UAE forced the pause in the main court process to stop Qatar from blocking access to a UAE website that allows Qataris expelled from the Emirates to obtain permits to return.
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By not allowing access to the site, the UAE argued Qatar was aggravating the dispute.
Qatar told the ICJ, which is informally known as the World Court, it had blocked the site because it posed a state security threat due to “malware” coded within that was designed to infiltrate the Gulf state’s security systems.
Chief judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said on Friday that the court in The Hague “rejects the request for provisional measures submitted by the United Arab Emirates” by a margin of 15 to one.
Mohammed Abdulaziz al-Khulaifi, the agent for Qatar at the ICJ, told Al Jazeera after the ruling that the UAE had requested the injunction in March 2019.
“We were quite happy about this victorious judicial judgement received in this court and now the case should proceed for the court to discuss the jurisdiction and the merits,” he said.
“Hopefully, the court will be able to reach a level where they can view, examine and make a judgement on the evidence submitted by the state of Qatar in terms of the true victims of this racial discrimination case imposed on the 5th of June 2017 from the United Arab Emirates,” he added, referring to the start of a blockade against Qatar by four Arab countries.
The main case revolves around the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain – the countries which, along with the UAE, have been enforcing the sea, air and land blockade of Qatar – have not signed up to the convention, and so the case is only between signatories Qatar and the UAE.
In a July 2018 hearing, the ICJ ordered the UAE to ensure that Qatari families living in the Emirates were reunited with their relatives back home and Qatari students in the UAE were allowed to continue their studies without fear of deportation.
Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker, reporting from The Hague, said an overall result in the case “could be many more months in the pipeline, or it could even take years.”