Kenya won't recognise ICJ's ruling on Somalia maritime row - Foreign Affairs ministry
By Mireri Junior
| October 8th 2021
Kenya has said it will not recognise the October 12 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on maritime border dispute with Somalia citing the court’s bias and its withdrawal from the hearing.
In a Friday statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the ruling will be a culmination of a flawed judicial process that Kenya had withdrawn from because of its bias and unsuitability of the court to resolve the matter.
The ministry accused the court of proceeding with the case of the 160,000 sq km triangle in the Indian Ocean despite a 2009 agreement between the two nations on how to resolve the row amicably.
Kenya also slammed the IJC for ignoring another reservation in 1965 which had excluded similar disputes from its jurisdiction.
“The court’s assumption of the jurisdiction where it has none is demonstrative of new tactics to use pseudo-judiciary processes to undermine the territorial integrity,” read the statement.
IJC compulsory jurisdiction
According to the ministry, Nairobi has not only withdrawn from the case but has now joined other countries which are members of the United Nations in withdrawing its recognition of IJC compulsory jurisdiction.
“As a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent,” said the ministry.
Kenya has warned that the ruling, whichever way will have profound security, political, social and economic ramifications in the region and beyond.
“Such rulings are unfortunate in a region that is already under the torment of terrorism, instability and conflict.”
Kenya has, however, assured its citizens that the government is on top of things and will ensure peace prevails regardless of the outcome of the process.
Before its March 2021 withdrawal, Kenya had asked for the suit to be delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the ICJ ruled the case had to proceed.
Kenya had also objected to the presence on the ICJ panel of a Somali judge, saying he should excuse himself from the case.
Somalia while filing the case before IJC in 2014, maintained that the maritime frontier should follow the same direction as the land border.
Kenya, however, argues that the frontier should be horizontal from the point where the two countries meet at the coast.
In 2019, Somalia floated for auction minerals within Kenya’s territorial waters alongside the four contested oil blocks.
A document named ‘Offshore Somalia 2019’ and leaked from Somalia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources showed five oil blocks in Lamu are a part of those Somalia has floated to investors.
Somalia floated for auction 15 blocks. They include blocks 131, 142, 152 and 153 located in Galmudug and referred to as Obbia Basin, blocks 164, 165, 166, 177, 178 and 179 in Hirshabelle referred to as Coriole Basin, and blocks 189, 190, 204, 218 and 219 on the Lamu Basin, which is Kenya’s territorial waters.
The African Union (AU) had unsuccessfully urged Kenya and the Horn of Africa to consider negotiating the boundary dispute instead of battling it out in court.
AU’s Peace and Security Council invited both countries to give their side of the story. However, Somalia rejected the offer and failed to appear during the first meeting, saying it would not discuss a matter that was in court.
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