ICJ DAY 2: Somalia to counter Kenya’s argument on jurisdiction

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Somalia which sued Kenya in 2014 asking for a proper determination of the sea border between the neighboring countries, will  present its round one arguments a day after Kenya argued the International Court of Justice did not have jurisdiction over the case since the two countries had agreed to resolve the dispute through an MOU.

Kenya and Somalia had in 2009 reached a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was then deposited in the UN in 2011.

Somalia based its case on failed negotiations saying that Kenya knowingly skipped the third meeting amid Kenyan claims that Somalia mutilated the 2009 agreement on the ocean boundary in order not to go into negotiations.

Somalia is represented by Paul Reichler of Foley Hoag LLP, New York and French lawyer Prof Allain Pellet with the leadership of Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir

Kenya wants the border ought to run along the latitudes of the Indian Ocean similar to how its border with Tanzania is aligned, giving it more sea territory. However, Somalia wants the boundary to run perpendicular with the coast.

The ICJ will hold hearings up to Friday to consider submissions on the case that was filed by Somalia in August 2014 requesting the court to delimit the maritime boundary.

Kenya has already licensed several companies to prospect for oil in the disputed patch of the ocean as part of its ambitious plan to search for oil and gas both on and off-shore though some of the foreign oil companies withdrew after Somalia sued at ICJ.

ICJ is a United Nations court tasked with arbitrating disputes between states and has on a number of occasions ruled on boundary issues between many countries including the long time contested Bakassi Peninsula between Nigeria and Cameroon in 1999. The court ruled in favour of Cameroon and the territory was transferred to Cameroon in August 14, 2008.

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