Posted on | February 2, 2009
The Official Gazette of Iraq الوقائع العراقية (Alwaqai Aliraqiya) has been published since August 1922 as a means of introducing legal measures into force via publication.
The Law on Publication in the Official Gazette No. 78 of 1977 states in Article 1(Second) “Everything published in the Official Gazette is considered as the credible official text and it shall enter into force on the date of publication unless otherwise stated.” This concept has generally been followed other than during the CPA era, when all laws were stated to come into effect upon the date of signature and laws which are required by circumstances to taken effect immediately (e.g. Law No. 26 of 2008 (Amendment to Election Law No. 16 of 2005)).
From 1962 to 2002 an English language compilation from the Official Gazette was also published. It is not an issue by issue translation but rather a selection of laws in translation cross referenced to the original Arabic issues. The CPA era Gazettes in 2003 / 2004 were published in Arabic and in English.
The last edition published before the fall of Saddam Hussein was issue 3976 on 31 March 2003 which contained the Law to establish a board for the ‘Saddam Institute for the Study of the Quran and al-Sunna’, Law No. 14 of 2003.
The Official Gazette website [NB this link appears to have expired in 2010] makes available some Official Gazette issues (3978 (17 June 2003) to 4009 (9 November 2005) in Arabic and 3978 (17 June 2003) to 3986 (September 2004) in English), along with a limited amount of other Iraqi legislation (e.g., laws, regulations, orders and instructions). This material is made available “for all interested users, such as Iraqi officials, Iraqi citizens, and the international community”. These documents are made available for information purposes only. The definitive version of the Official Gazette is the printed version.
Most of the website material is in Arabic save for that from the CPA era (2003-2004). CPA era Gazettes are all included in English save for No. 3977 which is available here. The most recent edition in Arabic published on the website is No 4009 from 9 November 2005. The site has been promising for some time that much more material will be available in the future.
According to Article 129 of the Constitution, National Laws should be published in the Official Gazette and shall take effect on the date of their publication unless stipulated otherwise. Article 4(1) of the Constution states that ‘The Arabic language and the Kurdish language are the two official languages of Iraq’. However, prior to issue 4130 published on 20 July 2009, the Official Gazette was published only in Arabic and not in Kurdish.
The Iraqi Legal Database contains information from the Official Gazette in Arabic from 1925 in cross referenced form. It is not 100% accurate.