ZA Central Registry’s bid for the .africa new gTLD has been put on ice by an arbitration panel which admonished ICANN for failing to follow its own bylaws.
If .africa were to be delegated, which could have happened as early as Thursday — ZACR and ICANN have already signed a Registry Agreement — it would render the IRP’s decision moot, the panel found.
This ruling doesn’t mean ICANN has lost the case, just that it’s temporarily enjoined from delegating .africa until the final decision has been made by the IRP panel.
However, the panel had some stern words for ICANN, saying that the matter could have been settled months ago had ICANN only followed its own bylaws.
In the Panel’s unanimous view, it would be unfair and unjust to deny DCA Trust’s request for interim relief when the need for such a relief by DCA Trust arises out of ICANN’s failure to follow its own bylaws.
ICANN’s board of directors passed a resolution in April 2013 calling for the creation of a “standing committee” of nine potential IRP panelists, from which each three-person IRP panel could be drawn.
But, over a year later, it has not created this committee, the current IRP panel said. This led to the delay that forced DCA to request the emergency injunction.
ICANN’s basically been told by one of its own accountability mechanisms that that accountability mechanism is inadequate, at a time when its accountability mechanisms are under the world’s spotlight.
Just last week, the organization launched an accountability review that it said it “interdependent and interrelated” to the process of transitioning IANA away from US government stewardship.
Yeah, it’s embarrassing for ICANN. Doubly so because it’s been beaten by a company so incompetent it accidentally applied for the wrong gTLD.
For ZACR, the panel reckons the delay in getting .africa delegated will likely last “a few months”.