ICJ to solve Kenya, Somalia maritime border dispute
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will on Thursday rule on a case filed by Kenya in its maritime border dispute with Somalia, the Attorney-General said.
In a statement, Prof Githu Muigai said he would lead a delegation to the Hague-based court, in which the court will rule on an application to have the case thrown out, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the two neighbouring countries be used to settle the dispute.
Prof Muigai said the Registrar of the ICJ had given notification that the court would deliver the ruling, which if it goes in Kenya’s favour, the two countries will get back to discussions as contained in the MoU signed in 2009, but if it losses, it will file a petition and have the matter handled by the international court.
In its case, Kenyans question the jurisdiction of the ICJ to hear the case in the face of negotiations which had been going on between the two countries, based on an agreement that had been deposited at the UN in 2011.
The MoU, which has since been discarded by Somalia, provides for the mechanism of settling the maritime boundary dispute and therefore give effect to Kenya’s reservation of 1963 that requires countries to undertake bilateral negotiations over any dispute instead of resulting to the court.
It was this preliminary objection that formed the basis of the oral proceedings that were held in September 2016.
“The ruling at this stage is meant to determine whether the court has jurisdiction to hear the maritime dispute,” said Prof Muigai.
Somalia however claims that negotiations to resolve the maritime boundary dispute between the two countries had been exhausted before it moved to the ICJ.
Mogadishu wants ICJ to help determine whether the borderline should flow eastwards as demanded by Kenya or diagonally to the south from the land border as it wants.