Estonian IT company develops e-court system for Iraqi province (1)
A court information system developed under the leadership of Estonian company Aktors was inaugurated in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate of Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region on Saturday.
Viljar Lubi, deputy secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, who attended the inauguration event in Sulaymaniyah City, said the project represented an important milestone in the cooperation between the Estonian government and the regional government of Kurdistan, and would open the door for Estonian businesses to new opportunities in the region, spokespeople for the Estonian ministry said.
Lubi said that in his conversations with local leaders, interest was evident to expand the system also to other regions and to implement other information systems. “The digital signature was asked about most often," Lubi said. "A positive effect of the system and a carryover effect to other spheres could be felt immediately."
The Kurdistan region is faced with serious challenges, ranging from the need to defend the region against the terrorist group IS to the need to cope with economic decline. "Carrying out information technology reforms like this in the time of a crisis requires a lot of resolve, courage, and vision," Lubi said.
The court of the Sulaymaniyah governorate of the regional government of Kurdistan announced a tender for the contract to develop the information system in 2014. The tender was won by Estonian IT company Aktors, which signed the agreement on the development of the system in October 2014. To carry out the contract, several Estonian and local subcontractors were brought in, the biggest of which were Net Group, Võrguvara, Primend, and Meco.
The court system contains all types of court, from civil courts to criminal and appeals courts. The governorate has altogether 31 courts with a workforce of 450. The goal of the information system is to digitize the so far paper-based courts.
The first civil court in Sulaymaniyah switched to the new system in April 2015. By now, courts of all types have joined it. The prosecutor's office and the police have been linked up to the new system as well. If the system is successfully implemented, it will be expanded to the other governorates of the region.
In the course of the project, Estonian companies built up the entire system, including server rooms and cabling, and developed the necessary software. They also trained the users of the system and helped implement it. The provision of technical support will continue for three years from the day of handing over the system.
The opening ceremony on Saturday was attended by leading politicians from the regional government, leaders of the regional Supreme Court, and the Governorate of Sulaymaniyah. Speeches were made by the governor of the Sulaymaniyah region, the chairman of the presidium of the courts of Kurdistan, and Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, wife of Iraq's former president Jalal Talabani, as honorary guest.
Founded in 2006, OÜ Aktors is active mainly in e-government, finance, and the defense industry. It made a net profit of €62,191 on sales of €3.2m in 2014.