Court to rule on Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute

By Halligan Agade

International Court of Justice at The Hague will on Thursday deliver a ruling on the preliminary objections that were raised by the Government of Kenya following a petition by Somalia concerning a maritime delimitation dispute in the Indian Ocean.

Justice Ronny Abraham the International Court of Justice President is scheduled to deliver the verdict which will determine whether the case will proceed or not.

Kenya and Somalia are embroiled in a dispute over a potentially lucrative, triangular stretch of 100,000 square kilometers of offshore territory which is believed to contain large oil and gas deposits.

Somalia moved to the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands in August 2014.

In its pleadings Somalia wants the court to define the maritime boundary, and to determine the exact geographical coordinates as an extension of its southeastern land borders.

Kenya, on the other hand, wants the border to run parallel to the line of latitude on its eastern border with Somalia insisting it has exercised uncontested jurisdiction in the sea area since it first proclaimed its Exclusive Economic Zone in 1979.

The Kenyan Government has even awarded licenses to foreign companies including Italy’s Eni, France’s Total and the American company Anadarko Petroleum to prospect for oil in the disputed area, a move that has incensed the Somali government.

In his opening statement to the court, Attorney General Githu Muigai, stressed the relationship between the two countries and emphasized Kenya’s “longstanding support” and “extraordinary sacrifice” for Somalia during its civil war raging since 1991.

The ruling will be delivered on Thursday at 3pm Kenyan time.


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