Erbil Citadel from afar | Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Live: Monday’s news and views from Iraq and Kurdistan Region

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Sherwan Sherwani's prison sentence has been reduced following an appeal, according to a lawyer representing the Badinan Detainees. 

Sherwani was initially sentenced to four years for charges under Articles 298 and 295 of the Iraqi Penal Code, but now faces two years. The charges relate to fraud and using forged documents. Critics say the charges are trumped up to keep him in jail beyond the original sentence.

Previously, the Erbil Criminal Court sentenced Sherwani and others to six years in prison in 2021 for 'impairing national security.' Kurdistan Regional Government President Nechirvan Barzani later cut the sentences for many of the detainees by half in February 2022.

The latest appeal and sentence reduction relate to separate charges of forgery and fraud. These are handed down just days before he was due to be released on the previous charge.
International and local condemnation has poured in following the detention of Omed Baroshky, a journalist from Duhok, by security forces. The detainment is said to be in response to his criticism of a fresh four-year sentence handed down to fellow journalist Sherwan Sherwani by an Erbil court on Thursday. The Iraqi Kurdistan branch of Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT), a US-registered NGO committed to nonviolent conflict resolution, stated on Twitter that Baroshky was “kidnapped” by a security force in Duhok due […]
The Citadel

More from the Turkey anniversary celebrations

Hemn Hawrami, former deputy speaker of Kurdistan's parliament, was there. As was head of Kurdistan's foreign relations dept. Safeen Dizeyee.

And former KRG rep in Washington D.C., Bayan Sami Abdulrahman.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani attended Turkey's 100th birthday celebrations in Erbil last night

The comments below the line by Turkish Kurds are, predictably, frosty. 
The process of transferring the second 700 billion dinar loan from Baghdad to the KRG is underway, according to the Kurdistan Region's finance ministry.

The Iraqi Ministry of Finance has initiated the procedure, and the funds will be available "as soon as possible," following the completion of necessary processes.

This financial assistance is part of an agreement where the Iraqi government decided to lend 2.1 trillion dinars to the KRG over three months, with 700 billion dinars being disbursed monthly. However, until now, only one portion of the 700 billion has been sent and used for salaries for July, leaving the salaries for August and September still pending. The KRG says it requires around 940b dinars to cover monthly salaries of Kurdistan Region public sector employees, pensioners, and benefit recipients.

Fire at Erbil warehouse

fire erupted in four fodder warehouses in Erbil’s Dibaga subdistrict in the Kurdistan Region, causing substantial material damage but no human casualties.

Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, as there was no mains electricity inside the buildings. 

This incident is one of many, reflecting a broader issue of frequent fires in the region, often attributed to inadequate safety standards. 

According to official figures, there have been over 1,720 fire incidents reported in Erbil since the beginning of the year, resulting in at least 15 fatalities. In 2022, a total of 7,546 fire incidents were recorded across the Kurdistan Region.

Rudaw: Iraqi ministry documents claim discrepancy in KRG figures 

There's a discrepancy in the reported oil revenues between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi Financial Supervision Bureau, according to documents from Iraqi federal ministries seen by Rudaw.

The Kurdistan Region’s oil revenue was reported to be 36 billion dinars less than what was reported by the Kurdistan Region.

  • The KRG and its Ministry of Finance and Economy of the have disputed allegations of providing incorrect numbers to Baghdad. They have described these claims as false and misleading.
  • The Iraqi Financial Supervision Bureau has instructed the Kurdistan Region to deposit its oil and non-oil revenues into two specific accounts belonging to the Central Bank of Iraq from August 1, 2023.
  • The report mentions that 677 billion dinars have been allocated to the Kurdistan Region for the first six months of 2023, out of which a significant portion seems to have been directed towards debt repayment to TBI banks.
  • The bureau has asked the Kurdistan Region to submit detailed reports regarding its investment projects, contracts with foreign companies, and international bank loans, suggesting a need for a comprehensive audit and review of the expenditures and revenues.

KRG to receive second 700b dinar loan soon, says MP

  • A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is set to return to Baghdad to present expenditure and revenue reports for the past three months, according to Narmin Ma'roof, a member of the Iraqi parliament's finance committee.
  • Ma'roof indicated that the anticipated 700 billion dinars, intended for the payment of salaries of KRG employees, is expected to be deposited in the coming few days.
  • According to the budget law, the Kurdistan Region is required to submit its monthly expenditures and revenues to the Iraqi Ministry of Finance. There has been a delay as this fund, meant for salary payments, was supposed to be sent to the Kurdistan Region by Baghdad two weeks ago. 
  • The KRG is currently awaiting these funds from Baghdad to proceed with the distribution of salaries to its employees.
We've covered the Unitad mandate being nixed extensively on our live blogs. Now journalist and analyst Winthrop Rodgers has a new piece up on Amwaj diving deep into the story

Here's a summary:

  • The UN Security Council, upon Iraq’s request, has decided to end the Unitad mission of documenting IS crimes in Iraq next year, a move that shocked the Yazidi community, who view Unitad as crucial for achieving justice.
  • Survivors, particularly Yazidis, feel that international presence pressures the Iraqi government to take action, like exhuming mass graves, and fear the loss of momentum in achieving justice once the foreign personnel leave.
  • Iraqi officials express frustration towards Unitad for not sharing documentary evidence, fearing it could lead to the death penalty in legal proceedings, a punishment the UN has formally opposed.
  • The partnership between Unitad and Iraqi authorities has faced issues, with a lack of information sharing emerging as a significant problem, hindering the conviction of IS defendants for war crimes or genocide.
  • The Yazidi community was taken by surprise by the decision to end Unitad’s work, feeling excluded from the decision-making process, and multiple civil society organizations have urged for a more extended renewal of Unitad’s mandate.
  • There are concerns about whether the Yazidis and other victims of IS brutality will achieve justice, given the political and procedural challenges that persist, such as potential communal grievances and the uncertain fate of the collected evidence.
  • The article also discusses a proposed general amnesty bill by Iraqi Sunni MP Haibat Al-Halbousi that could potentially cover alleged IS members. This proposal might be politically motivated, linked to the upcoming provincial elections, and could be part of efforts to maintain a delicate political balance in Iraq, as many IS recruits were from the Sunni Muslim community.

Do read the full story at the link below:
In a quiet, bureaucratic meeting on Sept. 15, the United Nations Security Council gave notice that an internationally supported effort to document the crimes committed in Iraq by members of the Islamic State group (IS) will end next year. At the request of the Iraqi government, the mandate of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD) only received a twelve-month extension. Still grappling with the aftermath of the slaughter perpetrated by IS when it captured northern Iraq in 2014, members of the Yazidi community are shocked. They view UNITAD as a...