Kenya Takes Drastic Action in Somalia Maritime Border Row

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  • Kenya has withdrawn from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the raging maritime border row with neighbouring Somalia.

    In a statement on Friday, October 8, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Ambassador Macharia Kamau, said that Kenya will not recognize next week’s judgment in the ongoing Maritime case with Somalia.

    The PS accused the ICJ of assuming jurisdiction in the case when it had none and ignoring Kenya’s 1965 reservation that excluded disputes such as the present one from the court’s discretion.

    Nairobi declared that the ICJ’s judgment – whichever way – will have a profound impact on the security, political, social and economic ramifications in the region and beyond. 

    Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau April 14, 2020.
    Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau April 14, 2020.
    File

    According to Kenya, the judgment will be unfortunate in a region that is already under the torment of instability and conflict. 

    “The delivery of the Judgment will be the culmination of a flawed judicial process that Kenya has had reservations with and withdrawn from, on account not just of its obvious and inherent bias but also of its unsuitability to resolve the dispute at hand,” the statement read in part.

    “As a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.”

    PS Kamau stated that the Kenyan government will not recognize the judgment and abide by its findings. On March 14, Kenya announced it had pulled out of the border dispute case with Somalia.

    The government cited biases and ignorance of its request to have the case delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. The Maritime border case with Somalia was scheduled for Monday, March 15, and was to run until March 24. Nairobi had asked for the fourth postponement which was not granted.

    Kenya’s decision raised questions as to how the case will proceed, or if the outcome will be enforced should the case take place with only one party represented.

    The trade and diplomatic war between Nairobi and Mogadishu began in 2014 when Somali filed a territorial ownership case at the ICJ accusing Kenya of grabbing some parts of the Indian Ocean. 

    Nairobi responded by dismissing Mogadishu’s argument saying that if the Hague-based court rules in favour of Somalia, it could lead to social, economical and political complications. 

    Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau addressing the media outside his office along Harambee Avenue Nairobi, April 14, 2020.
    Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau addressing the media outside his office along Harambee Avenue Nairobi, April 14, 2020.
    File