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ICJ to deliver ruling on Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute today

In Summary

  • ICJ is set to deliver a ruling on the Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute at 4 pm today.
  • Analysts say whichever the outcome, it will have far-reaching ramifications not just between the two nations but also in the larger East Africa.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) , a top UN Court will today deliver a ruling on the maritime dispute between Kenya and Somalia.

Its ruling which will be delivered at 4 pm today, signifying a close to the seven-year case which was filed by Somalia.

It may render huge ramifications on either side battling for the 100,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean. The territory is endowed with vast oil and gas deposits, and has been a source of livelihood for many fishermen along the Kenyan Coast.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau announced that Kenya will not recognise the ICJ’s judgement. He accused the court of showing bias towards Somalia hence unsuitable to resolve the conflict.

Kenya accuses ICJ of biasness

Kamau maintained that the dispute should have been resolved through diplomatic negotiations. However, Somalia has for a long time declined talks, insisting that ICJ will deliver a fair judgement on the case.

Kenya boycotted ICJ court proceedings in March 2021, citing biasness on the court’s part. “Kenya informed the court by letter, dated March 11 received March 12, that they would not participate,” presiding judge Joan Donoghue said at the time.

Somalia’s stand

In August 2021, Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo met Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble in Mogadishu. She sought to have an out-of-court agreement mediated by the African Union unsuccessfully.

“While Somalia claims that its southern boundary should run south-east as an extension of the land border, Kenya’s contends that Somalia’s border should take a roughly 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line,” The Maritime Executive says.

Analysts say that ICJ’s ruling will have far-reaching implications not just between the two nations, but throughout East Africa.

“Whichever way the ICJ rules, it will be a bombshell that will reverberate far and wide in the region where diplomatic relations are deteriorating, “said Hassan Hussein, a Horn of Africa security analyst.

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