The Government of Republic of Kenya have requested International Court of Justice (ICJ) for another third extension of the hearing date over their maritime border dispute with Somalia that has been open-ended for years now.
The request Somali government has strongly rejected terming it, Kenya’s plans to delay the maritime case and accused Kenya of seeking to resolve the dispute outside the court.
(C)International Criminal Court Judges
Despite Kenyan government excuses on deadly Coronavirus pandemic outbreak as the main reason to postpone the hearing, Somalia declares that Kenya wants another long time running judicial process to block the maritime borders case, not only to block but also to create violence between the two countries.
What is the dispute between the two Countries about?
The dispute between Kenya and Somalia is rooted in a disagreement over which direction the two countries’ border should extend into the Indian Ocean maritime. Somalia on his part argues that the maritime boundary should continue on in the same direction as the land border’s southeasterly path. Kenya, meanwhile, insists that the border should take a roughly 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line, giving Nairobi access to huge chunk of the ocean.
The press release Diplomasia News was able to see and sent to the ICJ by the Somali government in reply asked that the hearing takes a virtual format using modern technology to deny Kenya’s excuse not to attend the hearing.
Somalia argued that the major international lawsuits brought to the ICJ had already been heard and determined in a virtual and video formats, and called on the ICJ to never postpone the hearing again because of the called “pandemic”
In November 2019, ICJ granted Kenya her wishes thereby pushing forward the maritime dispute between the two countries to June 8, 2020 after both countries presented their submissions. It’s very unlikely that the Court will grant Kenya further moratorium.
The dispute has drawn international attention, owing in part to the ramifications for the international energy market and the promise for lucrative Oil and gas contracts with United Kingdom and Norway having expressed their support for Somalia, while the United States and France have backed Kenya’s claim to the territory.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IF ICJ WERE TO ISSUE THEIR VERDICT ON THE CASE
Even if the court in The Hague were to issue a ruling, however, either side could simply ignore the verdict and proceed with own plans. President Kenyatta has shown disregard for international legal institutions before, when he flouted an indictment from the International Criminal Court related to his role in state violence following the 2007 presidential election, in which more than 1,000 people died. Those charges were withdrawn in 2014. Meanwhile, a tripartite summit in Nairobi involving Farmajo, Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed scheduled for March was also delayed because of the Coronavirus pandemic.