Kenya fears over maritime territorial row with Somali
SEE ALSO :The unseen war - Part 2In 1982, Somalia, through current president of ICJ Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, supported Kenya’s equitable sharing idea. This presentation was made in a UN conference on the law of the sea. Justice Ahmed, a Somali national, now presides over the court in which his motherland has sought to extend its claim in the sea.
SEE ALSO :State House intruder’s rant on FacebookThe two states had agreed they would make separate submissions to the Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf (CLCLS). During negotiations on the development of the Law of the Sea in 1974, Africa, as a united region, sent its delegation to UN for negotiations. The team was led by two Kenyans - Prof Frank Njenga, who was then Ministry of Foreign Affairs PS, and a Mr Adede. At the meeting, countries were allowed to proclaim their sea boundaries using either an equitable sharing formula or the equidistance sharing formula using geographical points of a nation’s territory. Kenya and Somalia advocated use of the equitable sharing formula that allows coastal states equal access to water resources. The head of the Somalia delegation at the time of the negotiations was Abdulqawi, who is the current President of the ICJ. During the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, held in Montego Bay, Jamaica in December, 1982, Yusuf stated: “Such delimitation should be effected in accordance to equitable principles.” While Kenya recognises international courts for the settlement of disputes, she believes that just like in the past, the two parties have not exhausted all the dispute settlement mechanisms in place, including regional bodies such as the African Union. Kenya remains skeptical that the resolutions arrived at will be in her best interests. At independence, all African countries, except Somalia and Morocco, agreed to retain their colonial boundaries as had been demarcated. The two countries were perhaps driven to policies of expansionism, with Somalia believing in its five-point flag while Morocco sought to expand its territory to the Western Sahel. When Kenya proclaimed its boundaries in 1979, Somalia accented to the same and deposited the proclamation at the United Nations. The Proclamation for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) means that Kenya has a right to explore any natural resources and minerals in the delineated area. “The delimitation of maritime boundaries in the areas under dispute, including the delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, shall be agreed between the two coastal States on the basis of international law,” the agreement states. The Declaration dated February 28, 1979, and signed by then President Daniel arap Moi, read that Somalia’s waters boundary was at the Eastern Latitude, South of Diua Damasciaca Island. The proclamation, Moi noted, did not derogate Kenya’s right over the continental shelf, as defined in the Continental Shelf Act of 1973. The Act defines a continental shelf to include the seabed and sub-soil of the submarine areas adjacent to the Coast of Kenya. President Moi’s proclamation was conferred by UN in 1982. In 2005 Kenya’s third President Mwai Kibaki made another proclamation, slightly amending the 1979 one for clarity. Emerging question in the case is: Why are five permanent members of ICJ no longer bound by the rules of the international court, yet they would like other countries to be bound? This is considering that the five member states declared they would not subject themselves to the veto powers of the court.
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